Compliance News | October 6, 2020

HHS OCR Releases Title IX Effective Practices List

The HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently released “Effective Practices for Preventing Sexual Harassment.” This list describes “suggested practices” for entities that receive federal financial assistance from HHS, including certain higher education institutions.

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This list specifically targets university health and medical settings receiving funding from HHS, rather than the broader group of institutions receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). This would include students seeking medical care through university health programs and sponsored research receiving federal financial assistance. Nevertheless, we can expect that similar practices would be accepted by the DOE’s OCR.

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What the list covers

In addition to summarizing the obligations under Title IX, the list provides examples of prohibited sexual harassment, as well as effective practices to prevent or reduce the occurrence of sexual harassment. These practices include:

  • Posting and distributing the university’s sexual harassment policy
  • Conducting regular Title IX training among faculty and staff
  • Providing multiple portals to report sexual harassment
  • Hiring sufficient staff resources with requisite experience and training

The list also includes practices designed to evaluate and improve existing policies and procedures, such as anonymous surveys and annual program reviews.

Implications for institutions

Although the list is neither guidance nor a final agency action, institutions should consider implementing these best practices in light of their broader strategy to become compliant with the new Title IX regulations released in May 2020, which we summarized in our insight, DOE Releases Final Rule on Title IX Regulations. As discussed in our June 2020 insight, Title IX Consulting: Preparing You for the Future, Segal helps institutions integrate their compliance efforts.

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This page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to discuss the issues raised here with your legal, tax and other advisors before determining how the issues apply to your specific situations.

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