What rights does a person have regarding accusations of discrimination at a university?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What rights does a person have regarding accusations of discrimination at a university?

I work as Teaching Assistant at a University where I also attend graduate school. Someone has reported me to the Office of Institutional Equity accusing of an offense that I did not commit. There is, or at least appears to be, no proof that I committed this offense. Also, my accuser claims that I committed this offense over 6 months ago, yet it was just reported a day ago. No supervisor or higher

up has asked me about this situation or has attempted any corrective action. Should I be worried about disciplinary action now and what are my rights as the person being accused in this situation?

Asked on April 30, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There are no rights in this situation, unless you have a written employment contract guarantying you some procedural rights (e.g. a right to a hearing) before disciplinary action, or which limits the grounds or reasons for which you may be terminated. If you have a contract, review its terms to see what rights it gives you in this situation. However, without a contract, you are an "employee at will" (all employment in the U.S. is employment at will when there is no contract); an employee at will may be disciplined, up to and including termination of employment, at any time, for any reason whatsoever--including unproven and/or old allegations of discrimination or some other offense. The law, unfortunately, does not protect you from discipline for this reason, since the law does not give you any rights in or to your job. Your only protection or rights would come through a contract.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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