Title IX and Title VII: Parallel Remedies in Combatting Sex Discrimination in Educational Employment

46 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2019

Date Written: 2019


The federal circuit courts of appeals are divided over the proper relationship between Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments Act of 1972 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, the federal courts disagree over whether an employee of an educational institution may sue her employer for employment discrimination under either Title IX or Title VII. Some courts have concluded that these employees may not bring employment discrimination claims under Title IX, holding that Title VII provides the sole avenue for obtaining monetary relief for employment discrimination against educational institutions. Other courts have reached the opposite conclusion, holding that Title IX and Title VII constitute parallel remedies, thus permitting claimants to recover monetary damages against educational institutions by pursuing only a Title IX claim for employment discrimination. Claimants proceeding under the parallel approach have a distinct advantage because by proceeding solely under Title IX, they may avoid the administrative process required by Title VII, as well as Title VII's cap on compensatory and punitive damages.

The Article concludes that only the parallel approach is consistent with Title IX's legislative history and purpose. In reaching this conclusion, the Article closely examines the 1970 hearings held in the House Subcommittee of Education. The Supreme Court acknowledged in North Haven Board of Education v. Bell, 456 U.S. 512 (1982), that the origins of Title IX grew out of these hearings. This legislative history is crucial in understanding the purpose of Title IX, but it has not been fully explored in previous scholarship.

These 1970 hearings were historical for many reasons, including that they are widely acknowledged to be the first congressional hearings held on the education and employment of women in educational institutions. They documented systemic employment discrimination by educational institutions against women, including widespread discrimination in hiring, promotions, and salaries. Given the pervasiveness of this employment discrimination and the recognized inefficiency of the administrative process available at that time, this Article concludes that Congress intended Title IX to provide an additional remedy for combatting sex discrimination for these employees.

Keywords: Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments Act of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Sex Discrimination, Employment Discrimination

Suggested Citation

Zehrt, Lynn, Title IX and Title VII: Parallel Remedies in Combatting Sex Discrimination in Educational Employment (2019). Marquette Law Review, Vol. 102, No. 3, 2019, 102 Marq. L. Rev. 701 (2018-2019), Belmont University College of Law Research Paper No. 2019-10, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3407595

Lynn Zehrt (Contact Author)

Belmont University - College of Law ( email )

1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212
United States

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