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Former Women’s Basketball Coach Resolves Claims Against the University of North Florida for $1.25 million
Mar 11th, 2016 by

Former Women’s Basketball Coach Resolves Claims Against the University of North Florida for $1.25 million

Correia & Puth client Mary Tappmeyer settles her Title IX claims of retaliation and sex discrimination against University of North Florida

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA (March 11, 2016) – The University of North Florida (UNF) and its former women’s basketball coach Mary Tappmeyer have reached an agreement to settle Coach Tappmeyer’s sex discrimination and retaliation claims associated with her termination from UNF in March 2015. Washington, D.C. firm Correia & Puth, PLLC represented Coach Tappmeyer in her civil rights claims against UNF, with additional support from Nancy Hogshead-Makar, CEO of Champion Women.

Coach Tappmeyer alleged that UNF terminated her from her long-standing position as UNF women’s basketball coach in March 2015 in retaliation for her complaints of sex discrimination experienced by female student athletes and because of sex discrimination against her. Coach Tappmeyer alleged that UNF provided male basketball recruits academic exceptions to UNF’s admissions requirements, but refused any exceptions to female players; that the women’s basketball team had unequal operating budgets, travel budgets, locker rooms, and training and office facilities as compared to the men’s team; and UNF disparaged the women’s basketball team coaches to current players, recruits, other members of the athletic department, UNF donors, and the UNF community.

Coach Tappmeyer also alleged sex discrimination against her and other female coaches of UNF’s women’s teams. She asserted that while UNF paid her significantly less than her male counterpart, the University held her to more stringent performance standards than her male counterpart, and thwarted her recruitment and coaching efforts.

Coach Tappmeyer was head coach of the women’s basketball team since its inception at UNF in 1991. She alleged that UNF’s actions violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, theEqual Pay Act of 1963, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. UNF will pay Coach Tappmeyer $1,250,000.00 to settle her claims prior to litigation.

“Coach Tappmeyer is a dedicated advocate for her female student athletes. We asserted that she stood up for her players when UNF basically suffocated her program,” stated Linda M. Correia, lead counsel for Coach Tappmeyer. “This resolution sends a clear message that retaliation is not okay when coaches stand up for their players’ equal rights. Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, women and girls have made significant strides in education. Despite great progress, inequities in athletics still remain, and our goal is to end barriers to participation and success in athletics.”

Regarding the resolution of her claims, Coach Tappmeyer stated, “As a life-long player and then coach, I know first-hand how great the game of basketball is and how significant of a role the game can play in a student’s life. Women at UNF deserve an equal opportunity to not only participate in athletics, but also to succeed. I am hopeful UNF will work to get back to the days when it prided itself on gender equity in athletics. Though I wish my time at UNF would have ended differently, I look forward to continuing to root for and support the female Ospreys.”

Nancy Hogshead-Makar had high praise for Tappmeyer, “I applaud Coach Tappmeyer for pursuing her ongoing sex discrimination complaints over the past year. Many coaches would have taken the overt discrimination in the teeth and headed to a new school. Her settlement today opens up new pathways for gender equality at the University of North Florida and across the country.”

For more information on this case, contact Correia & Puth at (202) 602-6500 orfirm@correiaputh.com.

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Correia & Puth, PLLC, is a Washington, DC law firm dedicated solely to representing employees confronting workplace discrimination, retaliation, and unfair treatment. The firm is a recognized, national leader on using Title IX as an effective mechanism for maintaining educational environments free from discrimination and retaliation.

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EEOC Files First-Ever Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuits
Mar 4th, 2016 by

In a historic move, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed its first two lawsuits for discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation.

In most states, it is still legal for employers to fire workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity; according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBT rights advocacy group, only 19 states and D.C. currently prohibit both of these discriminations. Because there are no federal protections for LGBT employees, the EEOC has called the cases “groundbreaking.”

read more ………… 

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Settlement Reached with Palatine, Ill., Township High School District 211 to Remedy Transgender Discrimination
Dec 4th, 2015 by

Settlement Reached with Palatine, Ill., Township High School District 211 to Remedy Transgender Discrimination

SOURCE- http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/settlement-reached-palatine-ill-township-high-school-district-211-remedy-transgender-discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that it has entered into a resolution agreement with Township High School District 211 based in Palatine, Illinois, after finding the district in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 for discriminating against a transgender high school student by denying her access to the girls’ locker rooms.

The case marked the first time that the Department’s Office for Civil Rights had found a school district in violation of civil rights laws over transgender issues.

“I commend the Board of Education of Township High School District 211 for taking steps necessary to protect civil rights as well as student privacy,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “We are grateful that the board and superintendent chose to come into full compliance with our nation’s civil rights laws. And, we look forward to partnering with the district to assure that the terms of this agreement are fully and effectively implemented.”

The events leading up to today’s announcement began in earnest on Nov. 2 when OCR issued a letter of findings to the district. The letter notified the district that it was in violation of Title IX, which protects all students, including transgender students, from sex discrimination in K-12 districts that receive federal funding.

OCR concluded that the district violated Title IX because, for more than two school years, the district had denied a transgender student access to the girls’ locker rooms at her high school, and offered her only separate facilities to change clothes for her athletics activities and mandatory physical education classes in order to satisfy the graduation requirements and receive a high school diploma.

The office noted that the district had previously designated the student as female in its computer system. And, that it had given the student unlimited access to all girls’ restrooms in the school and allowed her to participate in girls’ athletics.

At a special meeting Wednesday night, the District 211 school board approved a settlement to address the issues raised in OCR’s letter of findings and begin the process to bring the district in compliance with civil rights laws.

Under the agreement, the district agreed to take the following specific actions:

  • Provide the student with access to the girls’ locker rooms at her high school based on the student’s request to change in private changing stations in the girls’ locker rooms.
  • Protect the privacy of its students by installing sufficient privacy curtains within the girls’ locker rooms at the high school to accommodate the transgender student and any students who wish to be assured of privacy.
  • Provide a reasonable alternative for any student requesting additional privacy—beyond the privacy afforded by the privacy curtains—in the girls’ locker rooms. Examples could include use of another private area or assignment of a locker in near proximity to the office of a teacher or coach.
  • Coordinate with hosts of off-campus, district-sponsored activities to arrange for the transgender student to be provided access to facilities for female students.
  • Engage a consultant (who may be a district employee) with expertise in child and adolescent gender identity, including transgender and gender nonconforming youth, to support and assist the district in implementing the resolution agreement.
  • Establish a support team, if requested by the transgender student and her parents, to ensure that she has access and the opportunity to participate in all district programs and activities, and is otherwise protected from gender-based discrimination at school.
  • Adopt and publish a revised notice of nondiscrimination on the basis of sex. And,
  • Provide OCR with a copy or detailed description of all gender-based discrimination or harassment complaints or incidents.

A copy of the Nov. 2 letter of findings can be found here, and the agreement is posted here.

OCR’s mission is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights. OCR is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination by educational institutions on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, sex, and age, as well as the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act of 2001.

For details on how OCR handles civil rights cases, please click here.

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The Connecticut Model for PK-12 Title IX Implementation
Aug 25th, 2015 by

Bill Howe, Ed.D., State of Connecticut Title IX Coordinator (Retired), CT State Department of Education Connecticut is recognized nationally for its model implementation of Title IX in PK-12 schools. From its extensive website, training programs, Title IX database, technical assistance and enforcement activities, it stands as a model for the nation. Using a combination of lecturette, case studies, simulations and quizzes, this program will offer insight into the state’s Title IX Coordinator training, annual survey of school districts, enforcement and technical assistance functions and overlay of the importance of cultural competence in compliance positions.

Register – https://atixa.org/

The 2015 ATIXA/SCOPE Joint National Conference

OCTOBER 6th – 9th, 2015
SHERATON SOCIETY HILL HOTEL
PHILADELPHIA, PA

 

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Senator Richard Blumenthal on his support of Title IX provisions in S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act.
Jul 8th, 2015 by

The Senate resumed debate on S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act. It would change the 2001 No Child Left Behind Law by giving more authority to states and local school districts.

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