Filing a Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights
Is there a time limit for filing a Title IX complaint?
A Title IX complaint generally must be filed within 180 days from the latest date of the Title IX violation(s) you are complaining about. If the violation occurred more than 180 days ago, you can request a waiver for this requirement if you can demonstrate “good cause” (for instance, you were hospitalized or did not know that your rights had been violated). If you file a complaint with both your university and OCR, you must file your OCR complaint within 60 days of completing your college’s grievance process.
What should my complaint include?
Your name, address, and phone number
A description of the sexual assault, including dates and locations, if you know them
A description of the Title IX violation
Do I need a lawyer to file my complaint?
You do not need to have a lawyer to file your complaint with OCR, but you are able to have a lawyer represent you. Having a lawyer advocate for you and navigate the process can be very helpful.
What happens once I file my complaint?
- Once you file your complaint, OCR will consider whether to investigate it. This process can take several months.
If OCR decides to investigate your case, they will notify you or your lawyer in writing as well as your school.
OCR will set up an interview or multiple interviews with you to discuss the complaint. This can happen months after they decide to investigate your complaint. Interviews can take several hours and can happen multiple times over the course of the investigation. If you have an attorney, they can be present in the room during your interview.
An OCR investigation may focus not just on your case, but also on how your school addresses sexual assault generally.
Throughout the investigation, you can inform OCR of any retaliation or other violations from your school. You can also ask them for accommodations (e.g., for your school to provide academic resources or support).
OCR will come to a determination about their findings.
What can come of my complaint with OCR?
Will my complaint with the OCR be confidential?
You can tell OCR that you do not want them to release your identity to your school, but that request may cause them to limit their investigation and/or close your case. Please be aware that the general public may request documents from your complaint through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Although all documents will be redacted to protect your identity if they are released, OCR may release details of your case to anyone who requests it. In addition, OCR publishes its resolution letters and agreements, which will include information about your case.