Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary, announced that there are new rules for school administrators who handle sexual harassment cases. This has left California and 17 other states feeling very upset. MSN reports that according to them, the Trump administration is undermining America’s laws against sexual discrimination. The new rules have narrowed the definition of sexual harassment in colleges and public schools.
Many a California Sexual harassment lawyer will likely agree with the complaining states who feel these new rules will undo years of work to end the negative effects that sexual harassment has on equal access to education.
The 17 states were joined by the District of Columbia in voicing their disapproval in Washington, DC. They are hoping that a federal judge will block the new rules.
Former Law Too Broad
Despite the upset that the new rules have caused, DeVos feels that the previous law was too broad and unfair to those accused of sexual harassment.
She stated that there were just too many cases in which people were investigated and punished when they were doing their jobs or speaking their minds.
Back in 2017, DeVos announced new guidelines that would make tougher for people to accuse others of sexual assault. It would also make it easier for someone to defend themselves against accusations.
In many cases of sexual assault, people are not clear about what they should do. If they had taken part in a Free Sexual Harassment Prevention Tutorial, they may have been better off. Such tutorials are available from many sources, including online ones.
The New Law
Under the new rules, states that do not obey will lose billions in federal education funds. They will kick into effect on 14 August, which does not give anyone opposed to it enough time for review or consultation. Currently, campuses have been closed amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The new rules will see that accuses must show how the alleged sexual harassment they claim has been pervasive, sever and offensive enough to deny them equal rights to an education program. This basically means that before filing a complaint, a victim will have to go through repeated levels of harassment that could become unbearable for some.
It is recommended that educational institutions offer their students a Free Sexual Harassment Prevention Tutorial. This will help them to identify inappropriate behaviour and how to respond to it. Such tutorials could help prevent crimes of a sexual nature.
The new law also asks schools and colleges to have higher demands when it comes to evidence in sexual harassment cases. Previously, a victim could win a case by showing that their claim was ‘more likely true than false’. Now, more evidence than that would have to be presented.
Also, some claims that took place away from the school grounds will not be pursued. This includes any off-campus lodgings where accusers lived. Former students will not be able to file sexual harassment cases. It does not matter if the student because of sexual harassment suffered on the school grounds.
College students will also give the accused the chance to have an adviser present during the hearing to question his or her accuser. According to DeVos, such a cross-examination will make the case fair. But many feel this will intimidate and traumatise the victims.
Others think that following the example of the California DOFE is a good idea. A new online Sexual Harassment Prevention Tutorial that’s free has become mandatory. Employers in California have to provide anti-sexual harassment training for all their employees. This training is legally required and must be done at the latest by 1 January 2021.