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Early last year, just before the BAFTA ceremony, nearly two hundred British celebrities signed a letter published in the Observer calling for an end to sexual harassment in the workplace. Numerous celebrities then donated to the UK Justice and Equality Fund in support of that goal. Emma Watson made an early and substantial donation of one million pounds (about $1.4 million at the time). Now, Emma has done something else incredible for that cause and launched a workplace harassment legal advice line in England and Wales:
The actor Emma Watson has urged women to understand their rights as she launched a legal advice line for those experiencing sexual harassment at work.
The Harry Potter star and Time’s Up UK activist said it was “completely staggering” that the free helpline for women in England and Wales was the only service of its type.
Pointing out that TUC research found that one in two women had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, Watson said: “It finally feels like people are realising 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.”
Donations from members of the public, including Watson, helped to kickstart the advice line, which is backed by Time’s Up UK’s justice and equality fund, and managed by Rosa, the UK Fund for Women and Girls. Advice is provided by the charity Rights of Women.
Watson said: “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.”
The aim of the helpline is to help plug a gap in the availability of legal advice so that women can get the right help they need to hold their employer and harasser to account.
The Rights of Women website has more details about the service. The phone number is 020 7490 0152, and it is currently staffed twice per week in two-hour blocks in the evening (except on bank holidays): Mondays from 6pm to 8pm, and Tuesdays, from 5pm to 7pm. More hours are going to be added soon, and callers can receive advice about issues including (this is verbatim from their website):
– Identifying sexual harassment
– How to bring a complaint against your employer
– The Employment Tribunal procedure
– Settlement Agreements and Non-Disclosure Agreements
Kudos to Emma for using her celebrity and her means to kickstart this crucial service! It would be amazing if Time’s Up (and similar organizations in other countries) were able to offer their own versions of this specific advice resource. Goodness knows, we could use it in the U.S., too. Here’s a link to some national hotlines and women’s rights organizations in the US.
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