TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund

A Lifeline for Survivors


Two women looking forward
The TIME'S UP Legal Defense Fund as helped thousands of survivors of sexual misconduct. © Devan King/TIME'S UP Foundation

The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund connects those who experience sexual misconduct at work — or while trying to advance their careers — with legal and public relations assistance.

If you have faced sexual misconduct — including assault, harassment, abuse or related retaliation — in the workplace, the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund is here to help.

  1. You fill out a form online.
  2. If your case involves sexual harassment and related retaliation at work, we will email you with information about lawyers in our network. If your case is about something else, we will provide you with resources to find help another way.
  3. You contact the lawyers. Lawyers in our network provide a free consultation.
  4. Your attorney can apply for funding in cases that qualify.
  5. You can also ask for public relations assistance using our intake form (answer “yes” to the question about public relations). Note: Not all cases will qualify.

Founded in January of 2018, the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund has connected more than 3,700 workers facing sexual harassment to attorneys. Those reaching out to the fund come from every industry and two-thirds identify as low-wage workers. More than one-third identify as women of color.

The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund has spent over $9 million helping everyone from a dollar store cashier to fire department paramedics seek justice. Here are just some of their stories:

Jamelia Fairley

Jamelia Fairley is one of dozens of McDonald’s workers whose cases are being supported by the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. She’s a single mother who was working at a McDonald’s store in Sanford, Florida when a coworker began groping her on the job.

A photo of Jamelia Fairley, one of dozens of McDonald’s workers whose cases are being supported by the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund
I was thinking about my daughter. What if she has to work for McDonald’s one day and something like this happens to her? Jamelia Fairley
Photo Credit: Eve Edelheit / The New York Times

Jamelia reported him and was moved to another store — where another employee started making grotesque sexual comments about her one-year-old daughter. After Jamelia reported the incident, she faced retaliation and her hours were cut.

“I was thinking about my daughter,” said Jamelia about why she spoke up. “What if she has to work for McDonald’s one day and something like this happens to her? What if no one stands up for her?”

Paula Bird

Paula Bird is one of the 16 women who filed suit against the FBI with the support of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.

A photo of Paula Bird, ne of the 16 women who filed suit against the FBI with the support of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund™
It became very clear that there were people that they considered that needed to be watched, and that group would have majority females. Paula Bird
Photo: Courtesy of Paula Bird

The women experienced everything from outright sexual harassment to a review process that biased men and held women back. They even experienced retaliation when they spoke up about the unequal review process by which candidates can become FBI agents. 

“It became very clear that there were people that they considered that needed to be watched, and that group would have majority females,” said Bird. 

She spoke up so that the next woman working towards her dream of becoming an FBI agent won’t be discriminated against or held back.

Gina Pitre

Gina Pitre was working at a Walmart in D’Iberville, Mississippi, when her manager began touching her inappropriately and making suggestive comments.

A photo of Gina Pitre, who is one of the thousands of workers who contacted the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund™ for support
I don’t care who you are. There is no cause for disrespect. Gina Pitre
Photo Credit: William Widmer for The New York Times

When Walmart looked the other way, Gina was one of the thousands of workers who contacted the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund for support.

“I don’t care who you are,” said Gina. “There is no cause for disrespect.”

Saturnina Plasencia

Saturnina Plasencia is a single mother of three daughters. She was working at a dollar store near her apartment in Brooklyn when her manager started subjecting her to routine sexual harassment — pressuring her to date him and decreasing her working hours when she declined. When she informed him she was pregnant, he angrily responded, “The baby could have been mine,” and reduced her schedule further.

Saturnina Plasencia, one of the workers receiving legal help from the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund™.
I used to put up with everything. Now I say, ‘Don’t be scared. Speak up.’ Saturnina Plasencia
Photo Credit: Bebeto Matthews/AP

Saturnina came forward and is one of the workers receiving legal help from the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.

“I used to put up with everything,” Saturnina said. “Now I say, ’Don’t be scared. Speak up.’”

More than 700 attorneys who are committed to gender equity and social justice have joined the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund network. Learn more about the lawyers in our network here.

The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund™ is housed and administered by the National Women’s Law Center Fund, LLC.