Freedom from Discrimination

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution protects teachers at public schools from discrimination based on race, sex, and national origin. These forms of discrimination are also barred through the enactment of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was amended in 1972 to include educational institutions. This law provides that it is an unlawful employment practice for any employer to discriminate against an individual based on the race, color, religion, sex, or national origin of the individual. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 provides protection against discrimination based on sex at educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance. Title VII and IX also prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace.

A teacher who has been subjected to discrimination has several causes of action, though proof in some of these cases may be difficult. A teacher may bring a cause of action under section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code for deprivation of rights under the Equal Protection Clause (or other constitutional provision). However, to succeed under this cause of action, the teacher would need to prove that the school had the deliberate intent to discriminate. Similarly, a teacher bringing a claim under Title VII must demonstrate that the reasons given by a school for an employment decision were false and that the actual reason for the decision was discrimination.


Inside Freedom from Discrimination