Recent Developments in Title IX Jurisprudence

Recent Developments in Title IX Jurisprudence

By: Adria Lynn Silva on January 18, 2021


In Koenke v. Saint Joseph’s University, Case No. 19-4731 (E.D.Pa. January 8, 2021), the district court dismissed an employment action (hostile environment based on sexual orientation) under analysis of the Ministerial Exception. (Generally, the Ministerial Exception disfavors court involvement in employment disputes involving religious institutions, including religious based schools).

There was no discussion of 20 U.S.C. Section 1681(a)(3) in the opinion.

Also on January 8, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a memorandum regarding Bostock v. Clayton Cnty., 140 S.Ct. 1731 (2020) and the decision’s applicability to Title IX. (Bostock held that Title VII’s definition of sex included sexual orientation and transgender status).

The OCR’s Memorandum interprets that Title IX’s definition of sex is limited to biological sex. However, the OCR acknowledges that it’s interpretation of Title IX’s definition of sex is contrary to the Fourth Circuit’s recent ruling in Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, 972 F.3d 586 (4th Cir. 2020), which held that discrimination against a transgender student was a form of se based discrimination under Title IX.