Massachusetts Senate Moves to Preserve and Expand Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Requirements for Public and Private Colleges and Universities

A bill that would preserve and expand federal requirements for College and University programs to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus is moving through the Massachusetts State Senate. The bill, SB 2081, is, in part, an effort to solidify Title IX regulations and guidance concerning sexual misconduct issued by the U.S. Department of Education […]

Educational Institutions Affiliated with Religious Organizations May Be Liable Under Massachusetts Law For Hiring or Firing Based on Religious Principles

Massachusetts statute G. L. c. 151B prohibits, among other things, employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.  There are two statutory provisions, however, which limit the scope of the statute as it applies to religiously-affiliated educational institutions taking action based on religious […]

Trump Administration’s Department of Education Contemplating Changes to Enforcement of Title IX as Applied to Sexual Misconduct

Recent statements by Department of Education officials suggest new guidance is forthcoming with respect to enforcement of Title IX as applied to sexual misconduct on college campuses. During a stakeholders meeting last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized the effectiveness of the current Title IX enforcement guidelines and expressed the desire to implement changes “quickly.” These comments […]

Institutions Must Take Note of Recent Changes to CORI Regulations

In April, the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) released amendments to the regulations governing access to and the use of information maintained in the Commonwealth’s Criminal Offender Record Information System (CORI). The amendments to the regulations will effect use of the iCORI system to conduct background checks.

Ineffective Remedial Measures Expose Institutions to Liability Under Title IX

Institutions are shielded from liability under Title IX when they take timely and reasonable measures in response to claims of sexual harassment. However, institutions can be held liable for subsequent conduct if they fail to take action when on notice that existing measures are ineffective. Wills v. Brown Univ., 184 F.3d 20, 26 (1st Cir. […]

Online Certification of Necessity for Emotional Support Animals

Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), institutions are required to allow students to keep untrained emotional support or therapy animals in their dwelling unit as a reasonable accommodation if: (1) the student has a disability; (2) the animal is necessary to afford the student with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the […]

Response to Discriminatory Conduct is Critical to Avoiding Punitive Damages

In Gyulakian v. Lexus of Watertown, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) made clear that a plaintiff’s entitlement to an award of punitive damages under the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act, M.G.L. 151B will be determined by his or her employer’s response after being placed on notice of the alleged discriminatory conduct, even where the […]