Sex Discrimination: Overview of the Law

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance[.]” All federal agencies that provide grants of financial assistance are required to enforce Title IX’s nondiscrimination mandate. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) gives grants of financial assistance to schools and colleges and to certain other entities, including vocational rehabilitation programs and libraries.

In 1975, the Department’s predecessor, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, issued final regulations implementing Title IX. Recently, the Department engaged in notice-and-comment rulemaking to formally amend the Title IX regulations for the first time in over 40 years. After reviewing over 124,000 public comments, the Department issued final Title IX regulations on May 6, 2020. The new Title IX regulation, which is codified in the Code of Federal Regulations at 34 CFR Part 106, is enforced by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include sexual harassment; the failure to provide equal athletic opportunity; sex-based discrimination in a school’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses and programs; and discrimination based on pregnancy. A fuller list of Title IX issues OCR addresses appears here.

Title IX also prohibits retaliation for filing an OCR complaint or for advocating for a right protected by Title IX and discrimination in employment which is based on sex. However, employment discrimination complaints filed with OCR are generally referred to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Links to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulation:

For more information on the Department’s Title IX Final Rule, please visit the Department’s newly launched Title IX website here or OCR’s Blog, which is available here.

If you have questions or require technical assistance, please contact

Last Modified: 02/11/2022