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Changes to Reporting Harassment at Colleges and Universities

Posted December 29, 2019 in Uncategorized

Changes to Reporting Harassment at Colleges and Universities

Under the new law regarding reporting requirements for incidents of sexual harassment, it is now a criminal offense with authorized administrative penalties if reports do not occur when made. Added to fall under this include sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking at certain public and private colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education. 

Punishment: 

The law will make it a Class B misdemeanor when an employee fails to make a report when required. This can be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor if the employee did not make a report in order to conceal the incident that happened.

Institutions cannot discipline or discriminate against an employee who, in good faith, reports the incident and cooperates with an investigation, disciplinary process, or judicial processing, unless the employee is the alleged perpetrator. 

Amended:

The education code has been amended by the addition of a subchapter which states that dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking are required to be reported. 

They must be reported by employees at institutions of higher education. However, an employee of a postsecondary educational institution does not include a student enrolled at the institution. 

Sexual Harassment: 

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome, sex-based verbal or physical conduct that, in the employment context, unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. In the education context, sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities at a postsecondary educational institution   

Report Required For: 

An employee of a postsecondary educational institution who, in the course and scope of employment witnesses or received information regarding the occurrence of an incident that the employee reasonably believes constitutes sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking and is alleged to have been committed by or against a person who was a student enrolled at or an employee of the institution at the time of the incident shall promptly report the incident to the institution’s Title IX coordinator. 

The report must include all information concerning the incident known to the reporting person that is relevant to the investigation, and if applicable, include whether an alleged victim has expressed a desire for confidentiality in reporting the incident. 

Confidentiality: 

 A subsection added does not affect the employee’s duty to report an incident under any other law. An employee who the students may speak confidentially with regarding sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking, who received the information of an accident that falls within those terms, will make the report state only the type of incident reported and may not include any information that would violate a student’s expectation of privacy.   

No Report Required: 

If a student organization or sponsored event results in information on an incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking is made with disclosure. 

If a person was a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking. 

If you’ve been injured or harassed, you could benefit from the legal assistance of a personal injury lawyer in Arlington, TX on your case. Contact a law firm today for a consultation.

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into personal injury claims and harassment.

 

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