Federal guidelines for colleges and universities handling allegations of sexual misconduct on campus have changed again, with the Trump administration last week rescinding Title IX guidance issued under the Obama administration.
Notably, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued a seven-page set of questions and answers that allow schools to use a higher standard of proof in some cases, up from the “preponderance of the evidence” standard advocated by the Obama administration. The guidance also encourages equal treatment, notice and access for the accused, which has not always occurred in the past.
This has been a hot area of dispute and litigation in recent years, and the roll-out of new guidelines is likely to stir the pot even further. Colleges, universities and student affinity groups can be expected to each push for review and reform as a result. Although this is not employment law, the issues involved – including the need for prompt and fair investigations – are similar in the workplace.
Michael Homans is a Labor & Employment attorney and founding partner of HomansPeck LLC. For more employment law updates, including news and links to important information pertaining to legal developments that may affect your business, subscribe to Michael’s blog, or follow him on Twitter @EmployLawUpdate.