TITLE IX AND OTHER SCHOOL INVESTIGATIONS
Title IX was enacted to eliminate discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. These programs include, but are not limited to those private and public K-12 schools, colleges and universities, that receive federal funds. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) of students and employees in these programs. Under the new (2020) Title IX regulations, the investigation remains a critical element in a school’s grievance process.
Schools also have an interest in investigating complaints that do not involve a Title IX issue if the alleged conduct would, if true, constitute a violation of school policy. For example, discrimination or harassment based on a protected characteristic other than sex, or bullying.
Michelle McGrath brings her years of experience as an attorney and workplace investigator to the arena of Title IX and other school investigations. She has had training specific to Title IX, including trauma-informed training and training regarding the new 2020 regulations. Michelle McGrath creates an environment of trust with witnesses to ensure each witness is fully heard. She has experience that is particularly relevant to the handling of the sensitive subject matter of Title IX, such as interviewing witnesses about sexual assault, interviewing witnesses who allege that they were targeted with behavior because of their gender identity and interviewing witnesses who have conditions that impact their ability to communicate in the interview. The foundation for all of her work is her deep experience in (1) building rapport with witnesses so that they can, as comfortably as possible, relay a complete account of the events from their perspective, (2) identifying the relevant issues and corresponding facts in an easy to digest format, as well as (3) weighing the appropriate evidence to assess credibility and reach conclusions. Michelle is also able to identify and navigate the intersection of Title IX with other laws such as Title VII.
Michelle has handled Title IX investigations based on complaints made by students and/or former students against faculty, athletic department staff and other students. Michelle has also investigated complaints made by faculty and staff at colleges and universities, as well as complaints raised at independent schools.