Thursday, May 22, 2008

Student Argues Against Title VII's Application in Title IX Sexual Harassment Cases

In an interesting Comment in the Maryland Law Review, student Michael Buchwald argues that, owing to statutory differences and contextual differences between education and employment, it is inappropriate to import Title VII's "severe and pervasive" standard for employer liability to harassment cases in the education setting. Buchwald makes the case that Title IX requires educational institutions to "take a more proactive approach in identifying and prohibiting sexually harassing conduct" than Title VII requires of employers. Moreover, such proactivity is warranted "because of the trust and natural imbalance of power that exists in the teacher-student [and coach-athlete] relationship." He points out that relaxing the burden in this way "will not overly expose educational institutions to liability" because educational institutions would still only be liable for their own failure to act appropriately in response to notice of ongoing harassment.

Citation: Michael Buchwald, Sexual Harassment in Education and College Athletics: A Case for Why Title IX Sexual Harassment Jurisprudence Should Develop Independently of Title VII, 67 Maryland Law Review 627 (2008).