On June 23, 2022, the 50th Anniversary of the Title IX statute, the U.S. Department of Education released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) for the Title IX rule. The proposed rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on June 27, 2022. Following publication, interested parties will have 60 days to submit public comment.
First, the Department proposed to amend Title IX regulations to:
• Require recipients to adopt grievance procedures that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints of sex discrimination and take other necessary steps to provide an educational environment free from sex discrimination;
• Clarify the Department’s view of the scope of Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination, including related to a hostile environment under the recipient’s education program or activity, as well as discrimination on the basis of sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity; and
• Clarify a recipient’s obligations to students and employees who are pregnant or experiencing pregnancy-related conditions.
With regard to sex-based harassment, the proposed regulations would:
• Define sex-based harassment to include but not be limited to sexual harassment;
• Provide and clarify, as appropriate, definitions of various terms related to a recipient’s obligations to address sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment;
• Clarify how a recipient is required to take action to end any sex discrimination that has occurred in its education program or activity, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects; and
• Clarify a recipient’s obligations related to the grievance procedures and other necessary steps when it receives a complaint of sex discrimination.
With regard to discrimination against individuals who are pregnant or parenting, the proposed regulations would:
• Define the term “pregnancy or related conditions” and the term “parental status,” and prohibit discrimination against students and applicants for admission or employment on the basis of current, potential, or past pregnancy or related conditions; and
• Clarify a recipient’s obligations to students and employees who are pregnant or experiencing related conditions.
In addition, the proposed regulations would:
• Articulate the Department’s understanding that sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity;
• Clarify and streamline administrative requirements with respect to designating a Title IX Coordinator, disseminating a nondiscrimination notice, adopting grievance procedures, and recordkeeping;
• Specify that a recipient must train a range of relevant persons on the recipient’s obligations under Title IX;
• Clarify that, unless otherwise provided by Title IX or the regulations, a recipient must not carry out any otherwise permissible different treatment or separation on the basis of sex in a way that would cause more than de minimis harm, including by adopting a policy or engaging in a practice that prevents a person from participating in an education program or activity consistent with their gender identity; and
• Clarify a recipient’s obligation to address retaliation.
Duane Morris is in the process of reviewing the proposed rule in detail and will prepare bullet points and a full summary in the coming days.