The brave women and men who have suffered at the hands of others are still coming forward in throngs and demanding their stories be heard. The community of those who have been preyed upon have banded together under the hash tag “Me Too.”
Others are exclaiming “#TimesUp!” for those who are guilty of repeatedly victimizing others for their own pleasure, control, and ulterior motives in the workplace. #TimesUp is the name of the movement that says sexual abuse, assault, and misconduct will no longer be tolerated in the workplace. While often used interchangeably, there are differences between the two movements.
Two Movements: One Central Message
#MeToo founder Tarana Burke and Christy Haubegger, a Creative Artists Agency executive who helped start #TimesUp, discussed the similarities and differences between the two movements in a recent Time magazine interview. Burke said, “The #MeToo movement had already been around for years before it started gaining national attention after allegations of sexual assault and harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein began dominating the headlines.” The Weinstein allegations started a crusade in the Hollywood entertainment industry to speak out against sexual predators.
Burke said that the goal of #MeToo was to give people a voice and effect cultural transformation by encouraging millions of victims of sexual violence to speak out. “Empowerment through empathy” is one of #MeToo’s mottos.
#TimesUp, while similar to the #MeToo movement in that they share the goal of giving people a voice and encouraging empowerment, #TimesUp has some different goals in that its aim is to “create concrete change, leading to safety and equity in the workplace.” Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rimes, Natalie Portman, and over 300 other powerful Hollywood women started the movement.
Haubegger explained it this way in the Time magazine interview: “#TimesUp was founded on the premise that everyone, every human being, deserves a right to earn a living, to take care of themselves, to take care of their families, free of the impediments of harassment and sexual assault and discrimination.”
The group created the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, a source of legal and financial support for women and men who want to fight sexual misconduct through the justice system. The fund, in a very short period of time of only two months, collected a whopping $21 million, and it’s the most successful campaign in GoFundMe’s history.
Legal Definition of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Harassment in the workplace is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the laws in many states. According to The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is unlawful to harass a person because of that person’s sex. The “law defines sexual harassment as unwelcome verbal, visual, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature or based on someone’s sex, that it is severe or pervasive, creating a hostile working environment or affecting working conditions.”
This legal definition covers a wide range of behaviors and verbal comments, and harassers can be both men and women. The harasser may be a supervisor or a subordinate, and the victim may not only be an employee but an applicant. Men can sexually harass men or women, and women can sexually harass women or men. There are no boundaries when it comes to the legal definition of sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s no longer as simple as an older male boss hitting on his young attractive secretary. Harassment in the workplace can take on the most egregious and the subtlest forms, and because of this, more and more companies are requiring training, tutorials, and in-services on the very important subject. The saying goes, “Ignorance of the law is no defense.”
If you’re the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, let your boss know that #TimesUp by contacting an employment discrimination attorney in your area today to schedule a consultation. Bring any proof of what you’ve endured to your meeting so your attorney can examine any evidence you’ve collected along the way.