What's next for women who speak out against sexual harassment in the workplace?

Attorney Nancy Erika Smith, who represented former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson, and advocate Caroline Heldman share advice for women on how to take action.
6:08 | 10/27/17

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Transcript for What's next for women who speak out against sexual harassment in the workplace?
growing and we've all been talking about it to stop sexual harassment. We saw Diane sawyer's powerful interview with Ashley Judd and now the floodgates are open. So many women coming forward sharing powerful stories about what they have personally faced and "Nightline's" juju Chang is here with more on that. Good morning, juju. Reporter: Good morning, guys. We hear it over and over again, it's one word, courage. So many others are now saying because of Ashley Judd's bravery, it's triggered soul searching, inspiring people to come forward and help break the culture of violence. This her eye-opening sit-down Ashley Judd sharing her personal account of the alleged harassment she says she faced with Hollywood superproducer Harvey Weinstein. If I could go back retrospectively I don't know that I would have been believed and who was I to tell? Reporter: Her voice, now echoing women around the world. Still trying to gain their own voice and the courage to speak out. We played for her some of their stories. Sitting inside my car outside a job I've had for years now. And this is the part where I have to psych myself up and say, it's going to be okay. I know he's in there because he's always in there. This guy controls my schedule. I don't make any money I don't feed my kids and I can't say anything because I need this job. He's just going to push and push and push and push trying to find where my breaking point is and the terrifying part is that I don't to where that is. So what do I do? I just want to hug her. I don't know how we fix this. Reporter: We received even more stories like hers from women across the country. I was told that if I didn't sleep with him, I would be fired. We're slow tonight, baby, go in my office and take your clothes off. Reporter: Their voices creating a domino effect of strength and empowerment as more women began to share their accounts. I had an old boss that wanted nudes just to give me a reference one woman posted on Facebook. Another telling us, I was afraid to report it. When I decided to bring it up, I was not taken seriously. And we began to hear more from those who say they took action. Despite their fears. I turned around, slapped him across the face, threw my apron at him and walked out. And on Instagram, one woman telling us, I dodged him and told him to never try anything again or I'd tell his wife and own the company. Another adding, I spoke up for myself and reported it. So many stories pouring in. Harvey Weinstein says he never retaliated against anyone and he denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex but Ashley Judd's story is still resonating with so many this story reminding us powerfully it's not just a problem in Hollywood. George and Amy. Thanks so much. We have Nancy Erica Smith, and Carolyn Heldman and Nancy, you represented Fox News former anchor Gretchen Carlson in her suit against Roger Ailes. What should every woman know when she is facing this sort of situation, what she can do? What should she do? The first thing every woman should do is find out what law applies to her because the laws vary in every state and city so finding out what the law is is the most important thing. Getting legal advice, really, is essential because you can't necessarily go right to hr and think they're going to be your friend. You have to know your rights first. That is so important because they tell you to do that and yet hr works for the company. Exactly and you can make mistakes in hr. They can suck you into not feeling safe and minimizing what happened and then they make a record of it and you're subject to retaliation. All of a sudden you're a bad employee. If a woman goes to the lawyer it is not necessarily going to cost her any upfront money. It's important to know lawyers who specialize in this area, most of them work on a contingency basis and only get paid if you are successful. If you have a settlement or a successful verdict. An important point. Caroline, you've spoken out. What are the biggest challenges women face coming forward. There are a lot of reasons to come forward, right. You can stop the behavior. You can help other women. You can raise awareness of the issue but it often comes at a high personal cost and for the one in three that experience sexual harassment in the workplace, almost all of them are retaliated against so we know that when you file a complaint about 75% face some form of retall indication. What do you do if a co-worker comes to you and says I don't know what to do. I'm worried about the retaliation. I'm not sure exactly what happened but it felt wrong. What do you say to them. Well, if I'm a co-worker and my person in the next cubicle over has been sexually harassed the first thing you need to do is a I believe you. The second thing, it's tet your fault. We live in a culture where we put these people on trial. Weird crimes in that way and offer support because oftentimes it causes trauma and so you're in this situation where you might not be able to access the resources you need and you probably need some counseling, you certainly need support in the workplace. And you probably need legal counseling. Excuse me. I've been so stunned by these stories you say women went through it and just didn't feel safe enough to go report. Well, for good reason because very frequently women who complain are shut up and retaliated against and it's the since that allows this to happen. It's the forced arbitration, it's the nondisclosure agreements, every woman thinks she's alone and none of us are alone. We've all been victimized. We were just talking. Men seem to be shocked by all of these allegations yet all of us women are not at all. It's a very different situation and we've been suffering in silence together, but getting legal advice is the key when you first have this happen. Absolutely. All right, thank you so much. Thanks so much.

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