Since the start of the #MeToo movement, actress Emma Watson has been a leading advocate for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace—and the launch of her latest project is helping to do just that.
Back in August, Watson collaborated with the Time’s Up UK Justice and Equality Fund to create a first-of-its-kind telephone hotline that provides free legal advice to women experiencing harassment in the workplace.
The hotline, which is available to women in England and Wales, is currently only open on Mondays and Tuesdays—although the group says that they plan on expanding their operating hours within the new future.
Research suggests that as many as 1 in 2 of women have experienced sexual harassment at work, although only 1 in 5 are comfortable reporting it to human resources. The hotline’s legal advice will be provided by Rights of Women legal staff and volunteer women employment lawyers through a dedicated telephone line. Women calling will be able to get specialist legal advice on what behavior constitutes sexual harassment, how to bring a grievance against their employer, how to make a claim in the Employment Tribunal, settlement agreements and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and other related legal problems faced by women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace.
The advice line is funded by the Time’s Up UK Justice and Equality Fund, managed by the UK Fund for Women and Girls, and kickstarted by donations from other celebrities such as Watson, who donated $1.2 million to the project.
Watson published a statement on the hotline’s launch, saying: “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.
“It finally feels like people are realizing the scale of the problem, and I’m certainly hopeful that with global standards such as the recent International Labour Organization treaty on harassment at work, we’ll start to see a new climate of prevention and accountability on this issue domestically.
“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 concluded.
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