Emma Watson has launched a free legal advice helpline with Time’s Up for women experiencing workplace sexual harassment in England and Wales.
According to Rights of Women, the organisation which will provide the advice, this is the only specialist free legal advice line for women in England and Wales who are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace.
“It’s completely staggering to think that this is the only service of its type given that research has found that as many as one in two women experience sexual harassment in the workplace,” Watson said in a statement.
“Understanding what your rights are, how you can assert them, and the choices you have if you’ve experienced harassment, is such a vital part of creating safe workplaces for everyone, and this advice line is such a huge development in ensuring that all women are supported, wherever we work,” she continued.
The advice line is funded by the Time’s Up UK Justice and Equality Fund, which was established in 2018 by British actors, directors, and producers in a bid to tackle workplace harassment in the UK. The fund — which is managed by Rosa UK — was kicked off with a £1 million donation from Watson, and has since been funded by donations from members of the public.
Seyi Newell, project director for Rosa, the UK Fund for Women and Girls, told Mashable the helpline is aimed at women across the country who are looking for legal advice relating to sexual harassment in the workplace.
“From the woman who isn’t sure if she’s just ‘making a fuss’ to the woman who is overtly harassed at work, the helpline aims to support the women who need them,” said Newell.
The helpline will be staffed by Rights of Women legal staff and volunteer women employment lawyers. Those calling the helpline will be able to get legal advice on settlement agreements and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), what constitutes sexual harassment, how to bring a grievance against an employer, and how to make a claim in the Employment Tribunal.
Deeba Syed, senior legal officer at Rights of Women, said in a statement that evidence shows sexual harassment in the workplace is “at epidemic levels.”
According to Trades Union Congress (TUC) research, 52 percent of women and 68 percent of LGBTQ people have been sexually harassed in the workplace. The study also found that four out of five women don’t feel they can report it to their employer.
“While sexual harassment is one of the most common forms of violence against women, it has remained a hidden issue with many women believing it was an inevitable part of their jobs or that it would jeopardise their careers to assert their legal rights,” said Syed.
There has been a longstanding gap in available legal advice for people who need it most, she added. “Many women still do not have access to the right help and support they need to hold their employer and harasser to account. Our advice line will help plug that gap.”
The purpose of the advice line is to “empower women to exercise their legal rights in the workplace,” per Syed.
“By advising women about their legal options and increasing their understanding of equalities and discrimination law, we will be able to help them make informed choices about next steps including how to navigate the legal system with confidence,” she said.
The helpline is now open and available to women in England and Wales and can be reached on 020 7490 0152.
Original Source: https://in.mashable.com/social-good/5521/emma-watson-times-up-launch-free-hotline-for-women-experiencing-workplace-harassment