Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:" “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance".

Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition protects against sexual harassment and sexual violence and extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. Other examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include the failure to provide equal opportunity in athletics; discrimination in a school’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses and programs; and discrimination based on pregnancy and parental status.

OCR is a primary authority for investigating alleged violations of Title IX in educational institutions because the U.S. Department of Education gives financial assistance to virtually all educational institutions in the country. Other agencies, such as DOJ, that give federal grants or assistance to an educational institution, share authority for addressing alleged violations of Title IX in educational institutions.

If a school that receives the Department’s federal funds is found to have violated Title IX and does not come into compliance voluntarily, OCR may initiate proceedings to withdraw federal funding granted by the Department or refer the case to DOJ for litigation.