Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Title IX

This says it better than I can, but the short version is that the Supreme Court, with Justice O'Connor writing for the majority and Justice Thomas writing for the minority, came to the decision that retaliatory action was to be included under Title IX so that a person speaks up againt (in thise case, sex) discrimination, has a course of action if s/he were to be fired or in some way retaliated against.

The ruling came from a case where Roderick Jackson had been fired because he complained about the treatment of the girls' sports teams and how they were being treated compared to the boys' teams:

"I went through the chain of command – from the school Athletic Director, to the Principal, to the Athletics Director of the system, to the Director of High Schools in Birmingham, and to the Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, who is the second in command of the system -- to try to level the playing field for my team. I was astounded that no one cared. Worse than that, they got angry and fired me from my coaching job."

What Justice O'Connor also stated, is that educators "play an essential role in the enforcement of Title IX, which would be stifled if educators could be subjected to retaliation without redress when they seek to correct violations of the statute."

Of course Justice Thomas believes that the majority is taking part in legislation that is better left to Congress.

I have to agree with the majority on this one. It was a close vote, 5-4, but Justice O'Connor makes many valid points throughout her opinion. By stating that educators have a major role to play, especially coaches, so retaliation is then a discriminatory offense in itself makes perfect sense. I like knowing that if someone becomes the "whistle blower" and then gets fired (or worse), they have some recourse for action. They have a way to protect themselves and as the amendment stands now, it does not specifically state that retaliation is included, hence Justice Thomas's dissenting opinion.

There were other cases taht have been ruled in much the same way, where other "whistle blowers" could sue for their jobs back or the money they would have gotten. Birmingham didn't just fire Jackson, they smeared his reputation for bringing the very unpopular issue of gender discrimation into their realities and for that, I'm glad the Supreme Court agreed with him.