Employment Law in Higher Education: Title IX, Professor/Student Interactions, Tenure, Application of Labor Laws

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide employment lawyers an in-depth view of the particular statutes, regulations, and decisions that govern employment and labor law at colleges and universities. These differences can be more restrictive than general employment and labor law and can vary by state. Thus, thorough knowledge is required to competently advise clients in this arena.


Higher education institutions present a mountain of situations that call for the involvement of employment lawyers, ranging from exposure to professor/student harassment claims to issues concerning the labor status of students, including student-athletes. Because federal and state law govern rights in this milieu, practitioners must be conversant and current in each.

An employment lawyer cannot rely on knowledge of "regular" employment law principles when advising higher education clients. Although Title VII certainly applies to colleges and universities, Title IX plays a more significant role by prohibiting sex discrimination in education, covering all staff and students in any educational institution or program that receives federal funds.

The labor and employment relationship in higher education differs from other workplaces. For example, a tenure decision is essentially a decision to promote an employee to a higher level. However, granting tenure creates more complications than a typical employee promotion. Rather than one manager in charge of the "promotion" by tenure, votes among the faculty play a role. Further, unionization of faculty, instructors, and even student groups adds compexity.

Listen as this panel, deeply versed in both the labor and employment issues at colleges and universities, provides the guidance necessary to practice in this area.



  1. Title IX
    1. Scope of application
    2. Substantive issues
  2. The professor/student relationship
  3. Tenure decisions
  4. Unionization


The panel will review these and other essential matters:

  • The differences between "standard" employment practice and the higher education area
  • Governing statutes with particular application to higher education
  • Fact patterns unique to higher education


Duke, John
John E. Duke

Senior Counsel
Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete

Mr. Duke advises and represents regional, national and international employers across the spectrum of industries in the...  |  Read More

Lee, Nicole
Nicole L. (Nicki) Lee, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in Teaching
Virginia Commonwealth University

An experienced social work educator, Dr. Lee has spent over a decade teaching in the M.S.W. and B.S.W. programs. Her...  |  Read More

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