On January 1st, 2018, an initiative was made public that is committed to ending workplace sexual harassment for all women. Celebrities showed their support for the movement by posting about it on social media, encouraging others to join the cause and donate, but few understand what the movement is and how it affects the fight to curb workplace sexual harassment.
What It Is
Per their mission statement, Time’s Up is “a unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere. From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, we envision nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live”. What sets this movement apart from October’s #MeToo campaign, is the commitment of women in the entertainment industry to fight for the rights of marginalized women, not only those in the entertainment industry. This helps to address what was criticized about the #MeToo movement. Time’s Up focuses on supporting women in low paying jobs, and providing them with the resources to protect themselves from workplace sexual harassment.
What It Consists Of
The movement itself is multifaceted.
“The initiative includes:
- A legal defense fund, backed by [$14 million] in donations, to help less privileged women — like janitors, nurses and workers at farms, factories, restaurants and hotels — protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it.
- Legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.
- A drive to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies that has already begun making headway.
- A request that women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes speak out and raise awareness by wearing black.”
Glancing at the website for the initiative, it is well organized, with an abundance of information. There are sections devoted to helping women identify workplace sexual harassment including distinguishing between quid pro quo and hostile work environment, specific steps to take if they feel they are being sexually harassed at work, and resources to assist with finding representation to name a few. The latter aspect of the campaign is backed by an over $14 million dollar legal fund (which has a goal of $15 million on their GoFundMe and is gaining more donors by the second). According to the GoFundMe page, the legal fund will, “provide subsidized legal support to women and men who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace and while in pursuit of their careers. The Fund will ultimately be housed at and administrated by the National Women’s Law Center, an established national women’s rights legal organization. A network of lawyers and public relations professionals across the country will work with the Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity to provide assistance to those ready to stand up. Access to prompt and comprehensive legal and communications help will mean empowerment for these individuals and long term growth for our culture and communities as a whole.
What You Can Do
Aside from donating to the legal defense fund, there are several other ways the website encourages people to get involved or show solidarity with the movement. For those who feel they are being sexually harassed at work, the following steps are outlined:
- Speak to the Harasser
- Demand that the harasser stop
- Keep a record of the conversation (date, time, placed, what was discussed
- Start a Paper Trail
- Keep copies of everything you send and receive from the harasser and the employer
- Create written notes of all incidents
- Do not keep the record at work or on a work computer
- Review Your Personnel File
- Request to see your personnel files before reporting the harassment
- Report the Harassment to Your Employer
- Consult employee handbook or policies – follow the complaint procedure
- If your company does not have a policy, speak to your supervisor and/or human resources
- If you think you may want to file a lawsuit against your employer in the future, you have to report the harassment to your employer first
- Involve your Union
- If you belong to a union, you may want to report the harassment to your union
- If you want to file a lawsuit in federal or state court, you must first file a formal sexual harassment complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or your state’s fair employment agency (if one exists)
- Be Aware of Deadlines
- Be aware of legal deadlines for filing a formal complaint with government agencies. You cannot bring a lawsuit against your employer unless you have first filed a complaint with the EEOC or the state’s fair employment agency
- In some states, you may have as few as 180 days from the date of the sexual harassment activity to file a complaint
- File a Lawsuit
- After you file a formal complaint with the EEOC and/or your state’s fair employment agency, you may also consider filing a lawsuit