A May 4, 2018 article published by The New York Times about new sexual harassment guidelines issued by the Department of Justice quotes KPWH co-manager Cathy Harris, who questions the DOJ policy. Ms. Harris stated to the Times:
“The question this raises is who does the Department of Justice prioritize?” Ms. Harris said. “Right now, they’re worried about being sued by harassers. They should be worried about being sued by the victims whose claims are ignored. That will be much more damaging to the department’s reputation.”
Read the entire NY Times article here.
Contact KPWH to discuss your possible legal claims.
Kator, Park, Weiser & Harris, P.L.L.C. attorneys Cathy Harris and Daniel Clark joined with the National Women’s Law Center to file an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of almost 50 civil rights organizations in support of female student victims of cyber harassment. The brief supports the position that the University of Mary Washington did not fulfill its legal duty under Title IX, which requires schools to address sexual harassment against students. Kator, Park, Weiser & Harris, P.L.L.C. is proud to stand with the National Women’s Law Center to advance the cause of equal access to education for all students, and to advance and protect women’s equality and opportunity.
Students at colleges and universities have the right to live and study in environments free of sexual discrimination, harassment, and assault. Congress enacted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to prevent federally funded educational institutions from discriminating on the basis of sex. Title IX imposes a legal obligation on colleges and universities to prevent and respond to sexual assaults on campus. The United States Supreme Court has held that Title IX contains an implied right of action for a student who has been sexually assaulted by a faculty member or even another student. See Davis v. Monroe Cnty. Bd. Of Educ., 526 U.S. 633 (1999). A student who has suffered sexual assault on school property, including campus housing and dormitories, may have the right to hold the school liable for deliberate indifference to known acts of harassment in school programs and activities. As a result of Title IX, colleges and universities cannot turn a blind eye to allegations of sexual assault but must complete a full investigation into such allegations or face potential liability. Courts across the United States have held schools liable for creating atmospheres pervaded with sexual hostility that resulted in violence. If you are a college student and have been the unfortunate victim of rape, sexual harassment, or sexual assault then you may have a claim against the school for monetary damages. To find out more information about Title IX liability against educational institutions and whether you may have a claim against a college or university, contact an attorney at Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. Also, for more information as to how to initiate a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, see http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html.
KPWH Member Cathy Harris was featured in a report on ABC News program This Week with George Stephanopoulos, speaking about sexual harassment and sex assault on campus. Ms. Harris has focused on the issue of campus sexual harassment for many years. You can view the ABC News story by clicking here.
Kerrie Riggs and Cathy Harris of Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC proudly represented Dr. Patricia Kinne, a lesbian psychiatrist at the VA, in her complaints before the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and the EEOC. The case was recently settled with the help of the Office of Special Counsel, with Dr. Kinne receiving essentially full relief, including compensatory damages and attorneys fees. Dr. Kinne was discriminated against when she was threatened with removal after patients complained that she had disclosed she was a lesbian or referred to her wife. The patients cited Dr. Kinne’s sexual orientation as a basis for discontinuing their treatment with her. VA management at the Louisville VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Kentucky stated that Dr. Kinne’s disclosure of “personal information” was harmful to the doctor-patient relationship and warned she might be terminated. OSC investigated and found that while there were several hundred change-of-provider requests from patients against psychiatrists during the relevant time period, only two requests – the ones related to Dr. Kinne’s sexual orientation– were treated as potential corrective or disciplinary issues. In their OSC interviews, VA management officials were unable to distinguish their treatment of Dr. Kinne’s conduct from others who had received complaints, and provided inconsistent reasoning to support their actions. Dr. Kinne is a well-regarded psychiatrist with no other reported performance or conduct issues, and was complimented by the VA in 2013 for having relatively few patient complaints. The case settled just before an EEOC hearing on Dr. Kinne’s discrimination claims.
See OSC’s Press Release about the case by clicking here.
See Government Executive coverage of the case by clicking here.
Other coverage on settlement available by clicking here.
Cathy Harris was interviewed by ABC This Week about sexual assaults on college campuses. Ms. Harris has fought to bring attention to this issue, and to fight for victims’ rights, for decades.
Click here to see the ABC This Week segment on college sexual assaults.
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault at college or at work, click here to contact KPWH to discuss your legal options.