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Responsible Employees and Reporting

A “responsible employee” is any university employee—from a professor, to a coach, to an administrative worker—who is required under Title IX to report information they receive about incidents of sexual violence to the university.

Not all employees, however, are considered responsible employees. Some employees, such as mental health professionals, must keep reports of sexual violence confidential, unless the victim gives them permission to share the information with the school’s Title IX coordinator.

Defining a Responsible Employee

The majority of university employees are responsible employees. In fact, an employee is considered a responsible employee under Title IX if one of the following is true:

  • They have the authority to take action to help sexual assault victims.
  • They have been deemed mandatory reporters by the school.
  • Students have reason to believe they have the authority to report sexual violence.

Employees who are often considered responsible employees under Title IX at colleges and universities in the United States include:

  • Deans
  • Coaches
  • Student affairs staff
  • Club and organization advisors
  • Admissions staff
  • Faculty and adjuncts
  • Board of Trustees members

Universities must train their responsible employees on the school’s policies and Title IX procedures, and must make it clear to all students and staff members which employees are considered responsible employees.

School Counselors

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) does not require school counselors, pastors, health center employees, therapists, or any other licensed medical professional to report sexual violence, harassment, or assault under Title IX. This is to protect the confidential nature of relationships between counselors, medical professionals, and students.

Other employees who may not be considered responsible employees due to confidentiality issues, and therefore do not have to report sexual violence to the Title IX coordinator, may include volunteers at sexual assault or rape crisis centers, staff at women’s centers, and other non-licensed workers such as administrative staff at health or counseling centers.

College Resident Assistants

Depending on the individual school’s policies, dorm resident assistants (RAs) may or may not be considered responsible employees. For example, at New York University, since a responsible employee is one who is in a leadership position, RAs are considered responsible employees and must report gender-based misconduct.

As a result, it is important to make all students aware of the fact that RAs are responsible employees under Title IX so that they can make informed decisions when choosing whom to talk to about instances of sexual violence. It is also important for universities to identify places where students can seek confidential support.

Roles of a Responsible Employee

Responsible employees are required to report information they receive from students about incidents of sexual violence to the school’s designated Title IX coordinator as soon as possible.

This includes details such as the name of the alleged perpetrator, the name of the victim, the names of other people involved, the time, date, and location of the incident, and other relevant facts.

However, before a student discloses information about a sexual assault, the responsible employee must explain to the student that they have an obligation to report the incident to the university, and that the information they share will not remain confidential.

Responsible employees must also complete university training on Title IX and the duties that come with being a responsible employee, as well as speak with the Title IX coordinator if they have any questions or concerns.

Call our Title IX advisors, disciplinary hearing lawyers and former prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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