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Time’s Up Now: The Past, Present, and Future of Sexual Harassment

Culture

Your grandmother has a #MeToo story, and her grandmother did, as well. You have a story, your mother has a story, your friends and coworkers have stories. People you've never met, in parts of the world you've never seen, in work spaces you don't know exist — they have stories, too.


It's been this way for many years, but today we're actually sharing those stories, and we're doing so at a rate that's generating an enormous amount of empowered momentum.

There's no question: we're in the midst of an incredible movement. Now, thanks to organizations such as Time's Up Now, we're channeling that momentum into actionable steps toward a more equal, safe society where, as Oprah said at the Golden Globes, “nobody ever has to say, 'me too' again."

“I think Time's Up Now has it right in that sexual harassment may be the keyhole by which women's rights are pushed into the workplace," said Dr. Wendy Walsh, a former frequent guest on FOX News who made explosive sexual harassment claims against Bill O'Reilly. She wasn't the first or last to come forward, but her testimony played a large role in sealing the coffin for one of the network's most profitable hosts.

She continued, “Our current workplace is a male-ordered structure that is best suited for employees who have a wife at home. By extending the sexual harassment crisis into a conversation about revamping workplaces to meet all the needs of female employees — including childcare and parental leave — Time's Up Now has their finger on our cultural pulse."

“I think Time's Up Now has it right in that sexual harassment may be the keyhole by which women's rights are pushed into the workplace,"

- Dr. Wendy Walsh

Photo courtesy of W magazine

For those unacquainted, Time's Up Now is a leaderless organization comprised of several different groups, including Hollywood elite, with a specific set of goals. Those goals boil down to creating and implementing legislation that combats sexual misconduct in the work space, and it does so with an intersectional feminist eye. We'll look more closely at the initiative soon, but first, let's examine the past and present.

Sexual Harassment, Then and Now

“Companies have, for the most part, come a long way in formally addressing sexual harassment in the workplace since 1986 when the Supreme Court first recognized this as a form of gender discrimination, covered by federal law," explained Pat Gillette, a leading expert on gender diversity and equality in the workplace. (You can read more about the law here: Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act). Gillette spent four decades as an employment litigation specialist, which involved training and advising employees of Fortune 500 companies, and their executives, on how to prevent and address sexual and racial harassment claims. She said that today, the majority of companies have policies in place that prohibit harassment and retaliation against people who complain of harassment. In fact, many states of mandatory training on these topics, and Human Resource professionals are fairly well-trained in how to handle these kinds of complaints.

Additionally, she noted that in recent years courts have favorably interpreted existing laws, and verdicts for sexual harassment claims often include awards for punitive damages ranging anywhere from minimal to millions. (The largest verdict was in Calif., where a single plaintiff was awarded $185 million). In that sense, there's a definite threat to companies that don't address harassment claims.

All this progress, however, doesn't mean that harassment has been eradicated.

“[Sexual harassment] often takes place under the radar. Women — who are the primary victims — are fearful of reporting the harassment of powerful men — or perceived to be powerful men — for fear of retaliation or retribution. It can go unreported for years," said Gillette. “Many women also fear that even if they successfully bring a claim of harassment, they will be ostracized and will find it difficult to find employment in the industry again. So, professional women who we might otherwise expect to be more willing to come forward, are often as fearful of speaking out as women who are in positions in hotels, restaurants, and other lower paying jobs."

The bottom line is that the landscape is better today than what it was 40 years ago. However, as ongoing reports of harassment indicate, many powerful men have not changed their behavior, and many women struggle with feeling empowered enough to report this bad behavior.

“That has to change if we are ever going to truly achieve equality in the workplace," said Gillette. “That requires not only better monitoring of behavior, more training and vigilance, but also that we get more women into management, into the board rooms and into the top levels of compensation in our companies and corporations."

It also means continuing the current momentum of speaking out, having important uncomfortable conversations, creating networks and providing resources for women, and implementing specific policies that further protect women and minorities in the workspace.

"Women — who are the primary victims — are fearful of reporting the harassment of powerful men — or perceived to be powerful men — for fear of retaliation or retribution. It can go unreported for years. Many women also fear that even if they successfully bring a claim of harassment, they will be ostracized and will find it difficult to find employment in the industry again."

- Pat Gillette

Time's Up Now

You may not have been wholly familiar with Time's Up Now until the recent Golden Globes, where Hollywood women, and some men, banded together to push the initiative into the spotlight. Every female wore black to the red carpet, and the organization was discussed repeatedly throughout the evening.

As mentioned, Time's Up Now is run by multiple groups, but Hollywood's participation is a no brainer for several reasons.

“Such high profile and respected women in the film and media industries coming together to fight sexual harassment and misconduct can create a sea change in society," said Ambassador Harriet L. Elam-Thomas, a U.S. diplomat and author of Diversifying Diplomacy who spent almost 35 years out of the U.S. with the goal to improve America's image abroad. “Their work reaches wide audiences and transcends academic, economic, racial, gender orientation, ethnic, and religious boundaries. What these individuals say and do will have far more impact, in many cases, than what parents, mentors, spiritual leaders and political leaders say. These women will deliver powerful messages to those who need to hear it most."

Sophia Bush, one of 300 Hollywood women to sign the Time's Up Now decree that appeared in the New York Times, told InStyle, “The work began months before. It was inspired by a letter, signed by 700,000 women from the Farm Workers Union, which they wrote to stand in solidarity with the women of the entertainment business who had come forward. As the #MeToo conversation came, finally, to the forefront, we all recognized that this moment could be a pivotal and revolutionary time across industries. Amber Tamblyn brought the idea to me, and I was all in. The notion that with our platform we can elevate all women, that their pain is our pain, that their justice is our justice? That's what this is all about."

The really important question, though, is this: How can the organization can take their megaphone and use it to effectively implement game-changing — life changing — policy?

Sophia Bush. Photo courtesy of In Style

“We all must be aware that policy changes must come from our legislative leaders, beginning at the county, state and then the federal level," said Elam-Thomas. “That means there must be a strategic set of goals at the outset to create the pressure that pushes them to do the right thing. Demonstrations and activism may grab headlines, but a carefully crafted action plan with realistic goals must be in place."

This also means that more women need to pursue political office, and voters need to elect them. Currently, women hold only 23% of government office positions.

A Hopeful Future

Though we clearly have some work to do — in terms of reducing sexual harassment, shifting mindsets, and improving overall conditions for females in the work space and in communities — real change is unobtainable. And the Time's Up Now initiative, and similar organizations, are working diligently to make a difference.

“There are plans for legislation that will stop the systematic pressuring victims with non-disclosure agreements," said Bush in the Instyle interview. “The fund will help defend women in all walks of life as they stand up to abusers and the organizations that protect them. And that's how systems change. That's how this movement draws a line in the sand and becomes a marker of systemic change." In that sense, The Time's Up initiative provides money to help women who don't have the resources to pursue their rights. It also increases the visibility of remedies that many women might not otherwise know about, which is incredibly important.

Finally, seeing women rally around each other — be it on the red carpet, on social media, or within our communities — is proof that we have strength in numbers and motivation. And as our cries and demands continue to crescendo, the greater a shift we'll see. This shift may not erase the #MeToo stories of generations past, but our daughters, and their daughters, will be the beneficiaries of today's actions. And that is a future worth fighting for.

Women in black for Time's Up Now. Photo courtesy of Footwear News

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Choosing the Right Corporate Structure: Which Business Entity Should You Go With?

Business entities can be defined as the corporate, tax and legal structures which an organization chooses to officially follow at the time of its official registration with the state authorities. In total, there are fifteen different types of business entities, which would be the following.


  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Partnership or LP
  • Limited Liability Partnership or LLP
  • Limited Liability Limited Partnership or LLLP
  • Limited Liability Company or LLC
  • Professional LLC
  • Professional Corporation
  • B-Corporation
  • C-Corporation
  • S-Corporation
  • Nonprofit Organization
  • Estate
  • Cooperative Organization
  • Municipality

As estates, municipalities and nonprofits do not concern the main topic here, the following discussions will exclude the three.

Importance of the State: The Same Corporate Structure Will Vary from State to State

All organizations must register themselves as entities at the state level in United States, so the rules and regulations governing them differ quite a bit, based on the state in question.

What this means is that a Texas LLC for example will not operate under the same rules and regulations as an LLC registered in New York. Also, an LLC in Texas can have the same name as another company that is registered in a different state, but it's not advisable given how difficult it could become in the future while filing for patents.

To know more about such quirks and step-by-step instructions on how to start an LLC in Texas, visit howtostartanllc.com, and you could get started with the online process immediately. The information and services on the website are not just limited to Texas LLC organizations either, but they have a dedicated page for guiding fresh entrepreneurs through the corporate tax structures in every state.

Sole Proprietorship: Default for Freelancers and Consultants

There is only one owner or head in a sole proprietorship, and that's what makes it ideal for one-man businesses that deal with freelance work and consulting services. Single man sole proprietorships are automatic in nature, therefore, registration with the state is unnecessary.

Sole proprietorships are also suited to a degree for singular teams such as a small construction crew, a group of handymen, or even miniature establishments in retail. Also, this puts the owner's personal financial status at jeopardy.

Due to the fact that a sole proprietorship entity puts all responsibilities for paying taxes and returning loans, it directly jeopardizes the sole proprietor's personal belongings in case of a lawsuit, or even after a failed loan repayment.

This is the main reason why even the most miniature establishments find LLCs to be a better option, but this is not the only reason either. Sole proprietors also find it hard to start their business credit or even get significant business loans.

General Partnership: Equal Responsibilities

The only significant difference between a General Partnership and a Sole Proprietorship is the fact that two or more owners share responsibilities and liabilities equally in a General Partnership, as opposed to there being only one responsible and liable party in the latter. Other than that, they more or less share the same pros and cons.

Registration with the state is not necessary in most cases, and although it still puts the finances of the business owners at risk here, the partnership divides the liability, making it a slightly better option than sole proprietorship for small teams of skilled workers or even small restaurants and such.

Limited Partnership: Active and Investing Partners

A Limited Partnership (LP) has to be registered with a state and whether it has just two or more partners, there are two different types of partners in all LP establishments.

The active partner or the general partner is the one who is responsible and liable for operating the business in its entirety. The silent or investing partner, on the other hand, is the one who invests funds or other resources into the organization. The latter has very limited liability or control over the company's operations.

It's a perfect way for investors to put their money into a sector that they are personally not experienced with, but have access to people who do. From the perspective of the general partners, they have similar responsibilities and liabilities to those in a general partnership.

It's the default strategy for startups to find funding and as long as the idea is sound, it has made way for multiple successful entrepreneurial ventures in the recent past. However, personal liability still looms as a dangerous prospect for the active partners to consider.

Limited Liability Company and Professional LLC

Small businesses have no better entity structure to follow than the LLC, given that it takes multiple good ideas from various corporate structures, virtually eliminating most cons that are inherent to them. Any and all small businesses that are in a position to or are in requirement of signing up with their respective state, usually choose an LLC entity because of the following reasons:

  • It removes the dangerous aspect of personal liability if the business falls in debt or is sued for reparations
  • The state offers the choice of choosing between corporation and partnership tax slabs
  • The limited legalities and paperwork make it suited for small businesses

While more expensive than a general partnership or a sole proprietorship, a professional LLC is going to be a much safer choice for freelancers and consultants, especially if it involves risk of any kind. This makes it ideal for even single man businesses such a physician's practice or the consultancy services of an accountant.

B, C and S-Corporation

By definition, all corporation entities share most of the same attributes and as the term suggests, they're more suited for larger or at least medium sized businesses in any sector. The differences between the three are vast once you delve into the tax structures which govern each entity.

However, the basic differences can be observed by simply taking a look at each of their definitive descriptions, as stated below.

C-Corporation – This is the default corporate entity for large or medium-large businesses, complete with a board of directors, a CEO/CEOs, other executive officers and shareholders.

The shareholders or owners are not liable for debts or legal dispute settlements in a C-Corporation, and they may qualify for lower tax slabs than is possible in any other corporate structure. On becoming big enough, they also have the option to become a publicly traded company, which is ideal for generating growth investments.

B- Corporation – the same rules apply as a C-Corporation, but due to their registered and certified commitment to social and environmental standards maintenance, B-Corporations will have a more lenient tax structure to deal with.

S-Corporation – Almost identical to a C-Corporation, the difference is in scale, as S-Corporations are only meant for small businesses, general partnerships and even sole proprietors. The main difference here is that due to the creation of a pass-through entity, aka a S-Corporation, the owner/owners do not have liability for business debt and legal disputes. They also are not taxed on the corporate slab.

Cooperative: Limited Application

A cooperation structure in most cases is a voluntary partnership of limited responsibilities that binds people in mutual interest - it is an inefficient structure due to the voluntary nature of its legal bindings, which often makes it unsuitable for traditional business operations. Nevertheless, the limited liability clause exempts all members of a cooperative from having personal liability for paying debts and settling claims.

This should clear up most of the confusion surrounding the core concepts and their suitability. In case you are wondering why the Professional Corporation structure wasn't mentioned, then that's because it has very limited applications. Meant for self-employed, skilled professionals or small organizations founded by them, they have less appeal now in comparison to an LLC or an S-Corporation.