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More than 1,200 sexual assault survivors helped since 2023.
More than 1,200 sexual assault survivors helped since 2023.

What to Know About theTime's Up Org

The Time’s Up movement has focused on helping women in the entertainment industry and blue-collar jobs fight against workplace sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting harassment. While the group disbanded in 2023, its Legal Defense Fund continues to assist women who need help paying for a lawyer in sexual harassment claims.

Survivor Advocate

Key Takeaways

  • Time’s Up Organization Advocacy: The Time’s Up organization was dedicated to creating a safe and equitable work environment by addressing issues of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The organization disbanded in 2023 after several controversies, but the Legal Defense Fund remains operational.

  • Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund: The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund offers legal and financial assistance to individuals who have experienced sexual harassment or retaliation in the workplace. Lawyers must apply for a client and they must be a part of the Legal Network for Gender Equity.

  • Accessibility of Help: Survivors of workplace sexual harassment should know that help is readily available. Whether through the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and their network of lawyers, or the many sexual harassment lawyers who take cases on contingency, meaning you don’t pay unless you win.

Time’s Up was a nonprofit organization that grew from the Me Too movement. It focused on helping women in the entertainment industry and blue-collar women fight sexual harassment.

What Was Time's Up?

The founders of Time’s Up were three hundred Hollywood women, including well-known names such as Shonda Rhimes, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington, and Emma Stone. The group announced its launch with a full-page ad in the New York Times, letting women know they could seek help if they were sexually harassed or faced retaliation for reporting harassment in the workplace.

The Time’s Up movement arose shortly after the beginning of the Me Too movement. Its goal was to fight systemic sexual harassment in entertainment and other industries, especially blue-collar workplaces. The group’s founders helped form industry-specific groups such as Time’s Up Entertainment, Time’s Up Tech, Time’s Up Advertising, and Time’s Up Healthcare.

Time’s Up ceased operations in January 2023. However, the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, supported by the National Women’s Law Center, is still operational. The fund helps women fight back against sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace by providing funding for lawyers to take on these types of cases and publicizes instances of harassment to hold offenders and employers accountable.

What Is the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund?

The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund helps women pay for attorneys when taking on their employers in sexual harassment lawsuits. It also provides media and storytelling assistance to help women be heard.

The fund helps women who can’t afford an attorney or who would face a severe financial burden if they hire one. However, the fund does not provide attorneys. Women seeking support must have their attorney apply for financial assistance to help cover the costs of litigating the case.

The fund reviews applications on a rolling basis. Unfortunately, it cannot grant financial support to everyone who applies. Your attorney can indicate on the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund application if there are time-sensitive deadlines associated with your case.

In addition to meeting financial need requirements, cases must fall into one of the following three categories:

To qualify for funding, the attorney must be a member of the Legal Network for Gender Equity. They can join when they apply for assistance. The attorney must list their experience, credentials, and plans for handling the case in the application. They must also include details about co-counsel and support staff.

The fund prioritizes cases involving low-wage workers, those in male-dominated occupations, and those that involve extreme retaliation, such as a media campaign or lawsuit. It also prioritizes cases involving high-profile or powerful individuals with the means to silence women and those that indicate a pattern of large-scale, systemic harassment. Matters that can help advance novel legal issues or establish precedent also receive greater consideration.

The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund has a particular interest in cases involving harassment of women based on an intersecting identity, such as disability, race, or LGBTQ status. The fund considers such matters particularly compelling since these women are more vulnerable to workplace harassment and discrimination.

If the Legal Defense Fund chooses to support your case, it will cover your attorney fees and litigation costs. If you recover compensation, your attorney must reimburse the fund for the litigation costs.

Time's Up Controversies

Along with all of the good press, The Time’s Up movement faced criticism from its inception because some saw its founders as Hollywood elites who were using the plight of blue-collar women to seek attention. The controversies that eventually ended the group were related to its leaders’ advice to and defense of powerful men accused of harassment.

In early 2019, Oprah Winfrey, a significant funder of Time’s Up, backed out of producing a documentary about rape allegations against hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. Time’s Up executives refused to sign a letter supporting the accusers and the film.

In 2021, several Time’s Up Healthcare board members resigned due to a controversy involving leaders Dr. Esther Choo and Laura Stadum. A sexual harassment lawsuit against a physician claimed Choo and Stadum discouraged a co-worker from reporting harassment at their workplace. The larger Time’s Up group supported the Healthcare leaders, and 20 of the division’s doctors and nurses quit in protest.

The main controversy leading to the demise of Time’s Up was related to sexual harassment allegations against former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Board member Roberta Kaplan and CEO Tina Tchen were accused of actively supporting the governor and using their power to silence his accusers.

It was reported both Time’s Up leaders advised the government on how to face the allegations and discredit the women alleging harassment. Kaplan and other board members also worked for those close to Cuomo. In 2020, Kaplan had also represented Goldman Sachs in a workplace harassment claim.

The Cuomo controversy and attempts by some Time’s Up leaders to hide their involvement led to mass employee resignations and an exodus of supporters. Critics inside and outside the organization made the case that its leaders could not maintain their attachments to powerful men and truly work to help women fight against harassment. The central Time’s Up organization formally ceased operations in January 2023 while the Legal Defense Fund remains operating under the National Women’s Law Center.

Getting Help for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Today

Many individuals may question if what they’re experiencing is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can be verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct. Some common examples include the following:

Many individuals may question if what they’re experiencing is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can be verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct. Some common examples include the following:

All victims of sexual harassment deserve justice and healing. If you have experienced sexual harassment, you have rights and options. A skilled, compassionate, and experienced lawyer can empower you, give you a voice, and assert your rights. They can stand up and fight with you by filing a sexual harassment claim.

The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is still helping women but cannot take every deserving case. However, many lawyers handle these cases on a contingency basis. That means you won’t owe anything unless you win your case. Even if you cannot afford a lawyer, you can still get the help you need and deserve. Helping Survivors can help guide you towards the available options and resources, including potential legal representation.

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