The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund is an initiative created by various Hollywood stars and activists to aid victims of sexual harassment at work, especially those in low or medium range jobs such as waitresses, nurses, government employees, sales clerks and people in other fields, according to The Washington Post.
Tina Tchen, former chief of staff for Michelle Obama, is one of the founders of the fund.
More than 1,500 people [30 of them are men] have applied for help from the fund since it launched January 1st, according to officials.
The fund was created in the aftermath of sexual assault and harassment claims against movie producer Harvey Weinstein and other famous men.
It has raised $20 million to help victims who otherwise do not have the money to pay for lawyers and public relations help, officials told the Washington Post.
The National Women’s Law Center is administering the fund. The National Women’s Law Center will connect individuals who claim they experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, or related retaliation, with attorneys who provide a free initial consultation.
Later, the assigned lawyers and the fund will determine what, if any, legal action should be taken at the fund’s expense. In some cases, the fund will defray legal and public relations costs of pursuing harassment complaints and defending against retaliation.
According to a report in the Standard, attorneys have heard stories of alleged harassment in the workplace that include exposure to pornographic photos, obscene talk, and groping and assault. In numerous cases under review, the alleged harasser was in a senior position.
How many cases have or will result in lawsuits is unknown.
Many women who contacted the fund do not want their cases to become public. One woman complained that a male engineer at a hotel where she was head cook persistently followed her into the kitchen, asked her to go on dates, stared at her, and made her feel “like a piece of meat.”
She claims she asked him to stop. He did not. She reported his conduct to the manager. Her supervisor did not investigate his behavior. She took two days off. Her supervisor fired her.
When the stories of some of these women are compared to what’s happened to certain women in NXIVM, the harm of being in the cult is put into clearer perspective.
For instance: The fund has heard about “exposure to pornographic photos, obscene talk, and groping and assault. In cases under review, the alleged harasser was in a more senior and higher-salaried position.”
In NXIVM/DOS, the women have to provide pornographic photos, perform obscene acts, and are sometimes raped. The alleged harasser in NXIVM is the most senior member of that organization. His followers refer to him as Vanguard. His real name is Keith Alan Raniere.