TIME'S UP founders launch sexual harassment advisory firm

Published on:
June 4th, 2019
Tina Tchen, co-founder of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund and advisory group HABIT, speaks onstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards - Entertainment Law Initiative in February. Getty Images (Jesse Grant)

The co-founders of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund have launched a new advisory firm aimed at educating leaders not only on the legal implications of workplace sexual harassment but also on ways to reshape their company culture to prevent it.

Roberta Kaplan and Tina Tchen formed HABIT (harassment, acceptance, bias and inclusion training) in part to teach people how to mentor, give criticism and better navigate the workspace, Tchen, a partner at Buckley LLP and former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, told Forbes.

“The same training that we’ve all been doing for the last three decades is really not designed to change culture,” she said.

Tchen said establishing company values is critical to harassment prevention, and that HABIT will customize its in-person training services to companies’ needs using industry-specific scenarios.

David Stephanides, editorial manager for Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S., which offers a digital suite of products to manage sexual harassment and workplace compliance, noted that improperly-handled claims can cost a company not only in lawsuits, but also in decreased morale, lower productivity and higher employee turnover.

"As attitudes around sexual harassment in the workplace have evolved, it is vital to stay abreast of the latest strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and effectively handle such complaints,” he said.

Although there is no over-arching federal legislation requiring sexual harassment training, several states have put programs in place.

California has passed a law requiring that beginning next year, nearly every public and private employee in the state must receive sexual harassment training. And Connecticut legislators voted last week voted to overhaul the state’s sexual assault and harassment laws, sending the “Time’s Up Act” to Gov. Ned Lamont for his signature.


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