Irvine University/College Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Sexual misconduct is a major, longstanding problem on many California college campuses, including USC and UCLA. And even though university officials know that they have a legal obligation to keep their students safe–and in particular to provide a learning environment free of sex-based discrimination–we continue to see thousands of cases each year involving allegations of campus sexual harassment and sexual assault.
If you have been a victim of such misconduct, it is essential that you seek out independent legal advice from an Irvine university/college sexual harassment lawyer. At The Garza Firm, we represent many college students who wish to confront the culture of abuse on their campus. We understand that even stepping forward to report harassment can be a traumatizing experience, which is why we offer our clients skilled, compassionate representation during this difficult period.
Defining Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault on Campus
Sexual assault can be defined broadly as any non-consensual sexual act against another person. Sexual harassment, in contrast, is any form of verbal, physical, or visual sexual conduct that prevents someone from taking full advantage of their educational opportunities in a college or university setting. It is critical to understand that many colleges and universities have codes of conduct that define sexual assault and sexual assault more broadly than how it is defined in criminal statutes or even state and federal civil rights laws.
All colleges and universities are also required to have their own disciplinary process for receiving and investigating sexual assault and sexual harassment complaints. Unfortunately, this process is often a smokescreen that does little to offer the victims justice or peace of mind. In many cases university officials may ignore a complaint or otherwise show willful indifference.
A student in this position has a few legal options. If their school accepts federal funding–and most do–they can file a complaint with the federal government under Title IX. The student can also file their own civil lawsuit against the school. In cases of sexual assault, the student can also sue the attacker for damages.
Keep in mind that the burden of proof in civil cases is much lower than in criminal trials. So a person can be found civilly liable for sexual assault or sexual misconduct even if they are never charged or convicted of a crime. Indeed, many violations of college or university codes of conduct are not criminal offenses. But the school can still be held accountable if it fails to follow its own policies with respect to punishing such misconduct.
Contact The Garza Firm Today
Many students trust their school will handle their sexual assault or sexual harassment complaints without the need for them to hire an attorney. This is almost always a mistake. A college or university is ultimately going to protect its own institutional interests first. So if you want someone who is on your side and only looking out for your best interests, it is best to work with an experienced Irvine college/university sexual harassment attorney. Contact The Garza Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.