Kansas City, KS– Under federal law, colleges and universities are required to investigate and remedy sexual harassment, but a new court case out of Kansas will test whether they will be required to police such behavior off-campus. And the decision in this case could have national implications.
The case stems from an incident at the University of Kansas involving a student who was accused of sexually harassing his ex-girlfriend on Twitter, which resulted in him being expelled from the university.
The Kansas City Star reports that in the summer of 2013 when a couple who attended KU had an argument in one of their vehicles. The girlfriend alleged that during the course of the argument her boyfriend held her against her will and struck her when she attempted to get her phone by which he had taken. He was
When the young woman returned to the KU that fall she reported the incident to the administrators and an investigation was launched. The male student was ordered to stay away from his former girlfriend and was told not to have contact with her of any kind.
For the most part, he complied with the school’s orders but he did go on Twitter and made derogatory comments about his ex. Although they were not friends on Twitter, she saw his tweets and complained to the school. KU then found him in violation of their no-contact order and expelled him.
Free speech advocates oppose KU’s decision and filed amicus briefs with the Kansas Court of Appeals, arguing that online speech should not be policed by the school.
KU believes that federal law dictates they appropriately discipline sexual harassment among students whether it occurs off or on campus.
Schools are required to take action when incidents of sexual harassment occur, but the KU’s decision to expel the student for the tweets seem to be an overreaction. And on appeal, a district court judge agreed, urging the school to reinstate the young man as a student.
Sexual harassment is common on college campuses and take the appropriate actions scope of a college or university’s reach when it comes to off-campus sexual harassment.
Incidents of sexual harassment, whether in the workplace or on a college campus, should be addressed and the harasser should be punished appropriately. That’s because the impact of sexual harassment can affect the emotional well-being of a student or worker and that in turn can negatively impact their performance. Sexual harassment attorneys understand this all too well and will stand a victim and outline the actions they can take to end their harassment.
If you are being sexually harassed at work and can no longer endure the humiliation and embarrassment of sexual harassment, USAttorneys encourages you to speak with a lawyer who practices employment law; you may be entitled to compensation for your mental anguish and lost wages. The sooner you act, the sooner you can stop the harassment and get the compensation you deserve.