Questions about the Legal Network for Gender Equity/TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund Process
You fill in the form on our website. We will send you the names of three lawyers in our network if your situation involves:
- Sex discrimination or harassment
- at school;
- in the workplace or your career; or
- as a patient; OR
- Leave from work for COVID-19 related reasons
Lawyers in the Legal Network for Gender Equity agree to a first free consultation with the people who receive their names from us. At that consultation, you can ask your questions and get advice.
You will tell them. When we send you the names of lawyers, we will include a document that has possible language to use when you reach out to the lawyers explaining that you received their name from the Legal Network for Gender Equity.
You do not have to pay for the first consultation. This is your chance to talk to a lawyer and figure out what steps make sense for you.
After the first consultation, if you and the lawyer agree that that the lawyer should represent you whether you must pay depends on the lawyer. Some lawyers in the Legal Network will take cases for a reduced fee or for free; some will not. Some lawyers will work on what is called a “contingency fee” basis where the lawyer will only be paid if you recover money. Other lawyers require a retainer to start working on your case. When you contact an attorney from the Legal Network, you may ask questions about the fees and costs of the representation and other matters. When we send you the names of lawyers, we will also send you a document that explains different types of fee arrangements lawyers use.
If the case involves workplace sexual harassment or related retaliation and meets other requirements, the lawyer may apply for funding from the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.
It is up to you whether and when to reach out to the lawyers. Some legal claims have strict timelines, so we recommend that if you are considering legal action or want to know your options, you reach out to the lawyers as soon as you can.
To join the Legal Network for Gender Equity, lawyers must be licensed to practice and meet their state’s standard for malpractice insurance. If they have been disciplined before for a serious matter or recently (i.e., within the last year), we do not allow them in the Legal Network.
Lawyers tell us what areas of the law they can work on – for example, employment law, defamation law, law about school sexual harassment, or law about patient harassment in health care settings. We use that information to try to make sure that we are sending names of lawyers who take the type of case that you have.
Lawyers are required to do some type of trauma-informed training before joining the Network, which can include the webinars we provide here: https://nwlc.org/resources/webinars-for-attorneys/.
Lawyers in the Legal Network also agree that they will:
- Respond within five business days to anyone connected
to them through the Legal Network.
- Not charge for the first consultation.
- During the first consultation, provide advice about what
the person can do about their legal rights.
- Let the Legal Network know if they end up representing
Here you can find a list of other resources that may be of assistance to you.
We are sorry. The attorneys in our network work on issues regarding sex discrimination and harassment in the workplace, education, and health care and leave from work for COVID-19 related reasons. If your problem concerns other issues, our attorneys will not be a good fit for you. You may look here for other resources.
Questions about your case
Different laws have different timelines, so whether your case is timely depends on many factors such as what type of case it is and whether it is in state or federal court.
Sex discrimination in employment: Title VII is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination and harassment in employment. To bring a case under Title VII you must first file a charge of with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There are strict deadlines for when you must file with the EEOC, which are different depending on the state. To learn more, look at https://www.eeoc.gov/. Some state laws protecting against sex discrimination in employment have different deadlines.
Sex discrimination in education: Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination and harassment in education. The deadline for filing a Title IX lawsuit is tied to the deadline for filing a personal injury claim and, depending on your state, ranges from 1 to 6 years. Some state laws protecting against sex discrimination in education have different deadlines. If you want to file an administrative complaint (not a lawsuit) with the U.S. Department of Education, the deadline to file is generally 180 days after your school’s most recent discriminatory action.
Sex discrimination in health care: Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in health care. Some state laws protecting against sex discrimination in health care have different deadlines. If you want to file an administrative complaint (not a lawsuit) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services you must file it within 180 days of when you knew that the act or omission complained of occurred.
Leave for COVID-19 related reasons: The Families First Corona Virus Relief Act (FFCRA) is a federal law that provides for paid sick leave and paid longer term leave for reasons related to the COVID-19 for certain workers The law only covers requests for leave from April 2020 to December 2020. The deadline for filing a suit under the FFCRA for sick leave or longer term leave is two years. Some state laws also provide for sick leave and paid leave and have different deadlines.
The law recognizes only specific kinds of harassment or discrimination as illegal. Sometimes things that are wrong or unfair are not illegal. You can find information about your legal rights by speaking to a Legal Network for Gender Equity attorney or at the links below:
In the Workplace
Our Turn: Derechos Legales (Español)
Legal Protections for LGBTQ Employees
Protecciones legales para empleados LGBTQ
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Complaint Process: The Basics
Proceso de quejas de la Comisión de Igualdad de oportunidades en el Empleo (EEOC) de EE.UU.: Aspectos básicos
Civil Litigation Process: The Basics
Proceso de litigio civil: Aspectos básicos
Trump Administration’s New Regulations Regarding Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment of Students with Disabilities
Transparency in Reporting Sexual Harassment at Schools
Discipline of Girls of Color
Discipline for Dress Code Violations
Rights of Pregnant and Parenting Students
Inclusion of Transgender Students in Athletics
When Trying to Get Health Care
Sex discrimination in healthcare:
Leave from Work for COVID-19 Related Reasons
Whether you need to file a complaint with a federal agency depends on what type of discrimination you have experienced. You may also be able to file with a state agency. To learn more about filing with a federal agency:
- Workplace Discrimination: https://www.eeoc.gov/.
- Education Discrimination: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html
- Health Care Discrimination: https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/filing-a-complaint/index.html
- Leave from Work for COVID-19 Related Reasons: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/contact/complaints
Questions about Funding for Cases of Workplace Sexual Harassment and Related Retaliation
Funding for cases is only available for cases of workplace sexual harassment and related retaliation. The application must come from the lawyer. The application is here https://nwlc.org/times-up-legal-defense-fund/attorney-application-for-financial-support-from-the-times-up-legal-defense-fund/. Unfortunately, we cannot fund all cases that apply.
Funding for cases is only available for cases of workplace sexual harassment and related retaliation. A priority will be given to matters involving individuals in low-wage jobs who could not otherwise obtain legal help to challenge sexual harassment or defend against related retaliation. To learn more about the criteria that guide funding decisions look here: https://nwlc.org/times-up-legal-defense-fund/attorney-application-for-financial-support-from-the-times-up-legal-defense-fund/.
We cannot guarantee that a specific case will be funded, and we cannot fund all the cases that apply.
Decisions regarding funding are made by the staff of the National Women’s Law Center. These determinations are made free from the influence of donors and without the regard to the source of funds.
Yes, your attorney can apply for funding to cover the retainer amount. If your attorney has any questions about this, they can reach out to us at [email protected].
We cannot make an attorney apply for funding. We can talk to them to answer any questions they may have about the funding process. You tell the attorney to reach out to us at [email protected], or you can reach out to us and leave us the attorney’s contact information.
Media assistance is only available for case of workplace sexual harassment and related retaliation. When you fill in the form requesting help, you should indicate that you are interested in public relations assistance.
Please note that you must have an attorney in order to apply for public relations assistance.
Unfortunately, we cannot provide public relations assistance to all the individuals that apply for it.
Troubleshooting Use of the Legal Network for Gender Equity or TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund
We are so sorry that this happened. This could be due to a few problems:
- The form may not have been sent to us. If the form was submitted, you should have received an email from the [email protected] telling you that we received your form.
- Is your request about sex discrimination or harassment in education, the workplace, or when trying to get health care or about leave from work for COVID-19 related reasons? If your question involves other areas of the law, we will send you an email with other resources, but we will not send you the names of lawyers.
- It usually takes about 10 days to receive a response from the Legal Network.
- The email will come from [email protected]. Sometimes it goes to spam or junk folders so please check there.
- Make sure you can receive emails from [email protected].
If you still have questions, email us at [email protected].
We are so sorry that happened. Please contact us at [email protected] and we can send you additional attorneys. Please let us know if we can share your experience with the attorneys who did not contact you. We want to reach out to those attorneys to make sure they understand their obligations.
We are so sorry this has happened. Please contact us at [email protected] and let us know what happened and who the attorney was. Please let us know if we can share your experience with the attorney. We want to reach out to the attorney to make sure they understand their obligations.
We are so sorry this has happened. Please contact us at [email protected]. If your case is one that we have funded, we can reach out to the lawyer on your behalf. Whether it is a case we funded or not, we can try to help you find other lawyers to speak with.
All lawyers are licensed in a specific state. One option you may wish to consider is filing a complaint with the state bar in the state where the lawyer is licensed about the lawyer’s conduct.
Please reach out to us at [email protected]. We may be able to move the funding to a different lawyer. We will need the new lawyer to apply for funding, including providing us with references and a budget for the case.
- Representing Black Women Survivors of Workplace Sex Harassment and Sexual Violence / Part I: An Introduction https://nwlc.org/resources/webinar-representing-black-women-survivors-of-workplace-sex-harassment-and-sexual-violence-part-i-an-introduction/
- Representing Black Women Survivors of Workplace Sex Harassment and Sexual Violence: Part II Litigation and Best Practices https://nwlc.org/resources/webinar-representing-black-women-survivors-of-workplace-sex-harassment-and-sexual-violence-part-ii-litigation-and-best-practice/
- The Intersections of Disability Discrimination and Sex Harassment: Part I https://nwlc.org/resources/intersections-of-disability-discrimination-sex-harassment-part-1/?preview=true
- The Intersections of Disability Discrimination and Sex Harassment: Part II https://nwlc.org/resources/intersections-of-disability-discrimination-sex-harassment-part-1/?preview=true
- Working on Sex Discrimination Cases with LGBTQI+ Individuals: An Introduction and Best Practices https://nwlc.org/resources/working-on-sex-discrimination-cases-with-lgbtqi-individuals-an-introduction-and-best-practices/
- Trauma 101: https://nwlc.org/resources/webinar-trauma-101/
- Trauma Informed Legal Advocacy: https://nwlc.org/resources/webinar-trauma-informed-legal-advocacy/