For Time’s Up co-founder Robbie Kaplan, the movement sprung from a series of changes to the law which dissuaded attorneys from taking on sexual harassment cases.
“One, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Walmart case, which really limited class actions in this area,” she explained in an interview with Cheddar on Thursday, International Women’s Day. “Two, the use of arbitration clauses, which don’t allow employees to go to court.”
And finally, the standard for a hostile work environment, “which basically requires employees to show that there was severe, pervasive, repeated conduct, and that’s often a high standard to meet.”
All these factors together kept many cases out of the court system, especially for women who were not in high paying jobs or who did not have what she calls “embarrassment cases,” those that would shame wealthy or high-profile individuals.
And that’s exactly what her Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund hopes to change.
“The real goal...was to create a market incentive so that lawyers would want to bring those cases.”
Naturally, the support of celebrities from Reese Witherspoon to Shonda Rhimes helps the cause.
“Already what’s happened is that they’ve changed the dynamic and changed the culture,” said Kaplan.
She pointed to a recent example where a woman who worked at a warehouse in Yonkers, New York, received $11.7 million in punitive damages in her sexual harassment lawsuit.
“We haven’t seen anything like that ever,” said Kaplan. “That’s a direct result of Time’s Up and #MeToo.”
For the full interview, click here.