Emma Watson launches hotline that provides women legal advice on workplace sexual harassment
Instagram / Emma Watson

A staggering one in two women have been sexually harassed at work, but four out of five of them aren't comfortable reporting the issues to H.R., which is why actress Emma Watson launched a new hotline that offers free legal advice regarding sexual harassment in England and Wales.

The hotline is designed to help women hold their employers and harassers accountable and is the first of its kind, something Watson finds "completely staggering," she told Fast Company. Anyone who needs legal advice for dealing with these types of situations can call the hotline and speak with someone from the nonprofit, Rights of Women, without paying the lofty fees traditional lawyers often charge.

"This advice line's purpose is to empower women to exercise their legal rights in the workplace. By advising women about their legal options and increasing their understanding of equalities and discrimination law, we will be able to help them make informed choices about next steps, including how to navigate the legal system with confidence," Rights of Women's senior legal officer, Deeba Syedtold Indie Wire.

Women can get advice on determining what counts as sexual harassment, filing a complaint against an employer, making a claim, and navigating settlement and nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), Fast Company reports.


RELATED: After #MeToo, these Hollywood women say 'Time's Up' for workplace harassment

The hotline is backed by the Time's Up United Kingdom Justice and Equality Fund and is managed by Rosa, a charitable fund set up to support initiatives that benefit women and girls in the U.K. It also received a $1.2 million donation from Watson and others in the film industry (which is no stranger to sexual harassment).

Syed also points out that sexual harassment in the workplace has reached "epidemic levels," but the good news is people are now aware of and talking about the problem, which means that we can finally fix it. "It finally feels like people are realizing the scale of the problem, and I'm certainly hopeful that with global standards such as the recent International Labor Organization treaty on harassment at work we'll start to see a new climate of prevention and accountability on this issue domestically," Watson said in a statement.

RELATED: Anita Hill nailed why we need to rethink who's to blame when it comes to sexual abuse

"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," Watson said. Women supporting other women is a beautiful thing.

If you're in need of legal advice regarding sexual harassment and you live in England or Wales, you can call 020 7490 0152.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.