University Faculty Representation

The Law Office of Ruth O'Meara-Costello will protect the rights of faculty clients accused of violating university policies, including in investigations into alleged research misconduct, unprofessional behavior, or sexual misconduct. 

Massachusetts University Faculty Representation Attorney

Ruth is an experienced employment lawyer whose years of work representing employees in discrimination and contract cases, coupled with her expertise in education law, position her very well to represent university faculty and staff members experiencing conflicts with their institutions. In representing employees in any context, Ruth is sensitive to respecting and preserving employment relationships while advocating for her client’s needs. 

Faculty and Title IX

Representing faculty members in Title IX or related disciplinary cases differs greatly from representing students. Rules against sexual harassment generally use the same language drawn from federal regulations to define sexual harassment. However, in practice, the difference in status between students and faculty means that the same conduct may be interpreted quite differently. Professors also must generally comply with policies forbidding consensual relationships. They may also be subject to vague policies regulating their behavior on grounds that are not clearly defined. On the other hand, tenured professors may have protection against at least some forms of sanction or be entitled to demand that the university follow fairly stringent procedural requirements before imposing severe sanctions. Ruth is experienced in helping faculty members to navigate serious accusations and difficult situations on campus. 

Faculty Member Discrimination

Faculty members who experience discrimination may have legal claims under laws that forbid discrimination in education, like Title IX; Ruth has represented both professors and graduate students suing over discrimination at their institutions, including disability and gender discrimination. She has also represented individuals who were retaliated against after raising allegations of discrimination, including retaliation from allegations of misconduct. 

If you believe that you are being discriminated against in your workplace based on your membership in a protected class or being retaliated against for asserting your rights, it is worth consulting with a lawyer about possible claims and strategies. 

Academic Freedom

At public colleges and universities, both students and faculty have the right to free expression under the First Amendment. Many private universities also have policies that promise that their faculty and students will have rights to free expression, especially in the classroom and in their academic work. Ruth is a strong believer in freedom of speech, even for speech that she disagrees with, and works to help both faculty and students facing discipline related to their speech or expressive conduct. 

Contract Issues

Ruth has represented a number of professors in raising contract claims against their employers, including in tenure and promotion cases and in circumstances where schools did not follow their own policies in investigating allegations of misconduct. 

Facing criminal charges? Tenure being threatened? Unsure of how you should handle a Title IX matter? The Law Office of Ruth O'Meara-Costello can help.
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