What is the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund?
The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund was started by women in Hollywood who were moved by the outpouring of support and solidarity against sexual harassment from the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, a national farmworker women’s organization in the U.S. These actresses and activists were determined to find a way to show solidarity with survivors of sexual harassment, assault, abuse and related retaliation in all industries — especially low-income women and people of color. They worked together in a historic first to design a structure that would be both inclusive and effective.
They collaborated with super lawyers Tina Tchen and Robbie Kaplan, Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women’s Law Center Fund LLC, and communications specialist Hilary Rosen. The answer was to create a program that could help people across the country — the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. Seeded by the generosity of these initial Hollywood producers and actresses, the Fund has gained broad support and donations from many leaders in the film and television industry and now from thousands of small donors from across the country. The more money that is raised, the more people we can help.
What is the Legal Network for Gender Equity?
NWLC launched the Legal Network for Gender Equity in October 2017. The Network connects individuals experiencing sexual harassment or other forms of sex discrimination at work, at school, or in accessing health care with attorneys willing to take on these types of cases. The lawyers who participate in the Network, including those who agree to take on workplace sexual harassment and related retaliation cases as part of the TIME’s UP Legal Defense Fund, agree to provide a free initial consultation to individuals who contact them through the Network and in some instances can take on sexual harassment or other sex discrimination cases pro bono or for a reduced fee.
How do I apply for funding?
Only attorneys may apply for TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund financial support. If you are an individual who has experienced sexual harassment associated with work or related retaliation, please do not complete an application; only applications from an attorney will be considered for funding. Contact the Legal Network for Gender Equity if you need assistance in connecting with legal help.
If you are an attorney seeking financial support for costs or fees in a workplace sexual harassment or related retaliation case, please read in full and complete the application and return it to TimesUpFundingApp@nwlc.org. The application sets out eligibility requirement and priority criteria for funding. Applications may be submitted beginning March 12, 2018, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Not all applications for funding will be granted.
Which cases will be financially supported by the Fund?
The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund is intended to increase the availability of legal representation to individuals experiencing sexual harassment associated with work or related retaliation by helping to defray the costs of such representation in select cases where representation is not realistically otherwise available. At this time, the Fund is limited to supporting sexual harassment associated with work or related retaliation; we are currently unable to provide funding for cases occurring at school, or in health care. However, the broader Legal Network for Gender Equity does connect individuals experiencing sex discrimination to attorneys in cases occurring in all three settings – at work, in education, and in healthcare settings.
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 will guide funding decisions, please review the application in full here.
What will the monies from the Fund be used for?
The primary purpose of these monies is to help defray the costs of legal representation for individuals challenging sexual harassment associated with work and related retaliation. The Fund will also provide financial support for public relations services for these cases as appropriate, pursuant to criteria and procedures currently being determined. Finally, the Fund will support the costs of staffing and administering the program.
Does TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund endorse candidates for public office?
No. TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund is housed and administered by a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates for public office or otherwise engage in partisan political activity. The Fund’s sole purpose is to support survivors of workplace sexual assault, harassment, retaliation and other misconduct.
Is NWLC currently hiring for work in relation to the Fund?
Why do lawyers sometimes need financial support to take on sexual harassment or related retaliation cases?
Bringing a legal case, or even hiring a lawyer to help address a problem with an employer without resorting to litigation, is expensive. This often requires paying an attorney an hourly fee as well as any of the out-of-pocket costs. Lawyers who agree to represent clients without any upfront payments are taking a financial risk on the case. If a case is successful in court, then there’s a chance that it could lead to a financial resolution for both the client and the lawyer. However, this is not guaranteed in any way. As a result, it can be difficult to find a lawyer to take on these types of cases, particularly for those working in low-wage jobs. This Fund will help encourage more lawyers to take on these cases.
I have experienced sex discrimination or sexual harassment and I need an attorney: what do I do?
Fill out the form at this link to receive legal information and a listing of attorneys participating in the Legal Network for Gender Equity in your area who are willing to take on sexual harassment cases. Attorneys participating in the Legal Network for Gender Equity have agreed to provide free initial consultations in these types of cases. While some attorneys in the Network can takes cases for a reduced fee or pro bono, some will not. If you contact an attorney from the Network, you should ask questions about the fees and costs of the representation and other matters to ensure that you wish to engage the attorney. The attorney may also apply for funding from the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund if the case involved harassment associated with work or related retaliation and otherwise meets eligibility criteria.
Does NWLC have any fact sheets or policy positions available on sexual harassment?
We also have more resources available on the #MeTooWhatNext page.
How do I contact you with questions?
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.