The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund Is Here to Help

“I was fired after reporting my harassment. But now I have an attorney and I’m standing up for myself and other women.”
— Low-wage cook, Pennsylvania
In the four weeks that I have been the director of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, I have been amazed at the amount of work that has been done – and inspired by how much we still need to do.
The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund connects individuals – mostly women – facing sex harassment and assault at work, or related retaliation, with lawyers who have agreed to give anyone referred by the Fund a free initial consultation. Additionally, the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund can assist in helping to defray the cost for cases alleging workplace sexual harassment or cases where workers are sued by their employers or harasser for challenging the harassment. The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund can also help fund assistance with communications and storytelling. The Fund is housed and administered by the National Women’s Law Center Fund, LLC.
In just five months, we have:

  • Signed up over 500 attorneys to be part of the network.
  • Responded to 3,000 intakes by providing the names and contact information for local attorneys who are willing to offer a free initial consultation.
  • Created a system to review intakes and get individuals the necessary information with 10 days.
  • Agreed to fund a first round of investigations or legal cases alleging sex harassment or protecting women from defamation claims.
  • Created outreach grants to be awarded in August that will be distributed to grassroots groups to help them get the word out about sexual harassment and workers’ rights

The Fund focuses on helping workers in low-wage jobs. Two-thirds of the intakes we have received are from workers who self-identify as low-income; one-third of those who use our intake system are people of color. Additionally, our new outreach grants will be targeted to ensure that low-wage workers know how to access the resources of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.
The need is great. We have heard from workers in every state in the country and from every industry. We have heard story after story of women being grabbed, assaulted, and groped.  Workers have been forced to endure a barrage of sexual requests or sexually charged comments or insults regarding their bodies and appearance. Workers who speak up regularly face retaliation – ranging from shifts and salaries being cut to being fired.
The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund is proud to stand with these courageous women who have come forward at great risk to call out their harassers. And we will keep demanding accountability from harassers, companies, and employers. The reason is simple:
No worker at any job should ever have to endure abuse for a paycheck.
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Sharyn Tejani is the Director of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. Immediately prior to starting this role in April 2018, she served as a Deputy Chief at the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010, Ms. Tejani was the Director of the Workplace Fairness Program at the National Partnership for Women and Families and the Legal Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation. She also worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Tejani began her legal career as an honors attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She attended Yale University and Georgetown University Law Center.