Date: January 24, 2018

For a report on the legal impact of #MeToo and the related Time's Up initiative, Law360 interviewed TELG's Nicholas Woodfield and other attorneys and concluded that — despite a surge in high-profile allegations of sexual harassment — women in "regular" workplaces still face retaliation and other unfair obstacles that limit their willingness to sue their employers.

"People are [still] going to be scared to come forward ... #MeToo doesn’t eliminate the need for a paycheck.”

Nicholas Woodfield

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#MeToo Push May Not Translate To More Harassment Suits

Even though the #MeToo movement has led to a surge in public sexual harassment allegations, employment attorneys believe it may not necessarily result in the flood of litigation many assume lies ahead, since fear of retaliation and economic pressures that have long suppressed such cases remain entrenched.

Whether sexual harassment lawsuits will significantly increase is just one of the questions that hang over the future of #MeToo, the social media rallying cry that has come to signify the movement to empower women to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and has opened the door for a national conversation about ways to push back against it.

A common assumption has taken hold as part of the public discourse that the movement will result in more sexual harassment lawsuits, given the harsh spotlight it has shone on individual harassers and the general problem of systemic workplace harassment.

But attorneys who spoke with Law360 said that such an assumption may be premature since the barriers that prevented victims from pursuing such allegations still exist and aren’t going anywhere.

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