At the start of 2018, a group of powerful women in Hollywood launched the “Time’s Up” initiative to counter systemic sexual harassment and discrimination and address broader issues affecting women, including fair pay in the workplace. In support of its goals, the initiative includes a legal defense fund to help women protect themselves from sexual misconduct and discrimination.
In a letter to The New York Times, organizers said, “Unfortunately, too many centers of power – from legislatures to boardrooms to executive suites and management to academia – lack gender parity and women do not have equal decision-making authority…. This systemic gender-inequality and imbalance of power fosters an environment that is ripe for abuse and harassment against women.”
In fact, following backlash from revelations that Mark Wahlberg was paid 1,500 times more than Michelle Williams for reshoots of the same film, Wahlberg donated his fee to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.
The ongoing spotlight on gender issues, as well as the legal defense fund, will likely lead to greater litigation over sexual harassment and pay equity in the workplace, in Hollywood and beyond. Employers should consider undertaking privileged proactive pay equity analyses to ensure that they are prepared for potential claims of discrimination.
Our Pay Equity Resource Group attorneys are available to provide strategic advice as pay equity issues continue to gain momentum. We will keep you updated with any developments.