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Entertainment unions come together against workplace harassment

The #MeToo movement and revelations about sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and elsewhere have led to significant efforts to reform the industry in California and elsewhere. Harvey Weinstein, the prominent movie producer, was at the center of many of these allegations in late 2017; they have since expanded to highlight a number of well-known figures in the industry. Harassment and assault complaints have been the focus of media stories, activism and social media campaigns.

As a result, several major trade unions in the industry have come together under the auspices of the AFL-CIO's Department of Professional Employees. SAG-AFTRA, the Writers' Guild of America, the Directors' Guild of America, Actors' Equity Association and the American Federation of Musicians announced a joint pledge and campaign to fight sexual harassment. The alliance emerged from a Dec. 13, 2018 meeting between the unions in which they discussed plans to share codes of conduct, proposed contract language, training resources and other best practices that can bolster all of their efforts to fight workplace harassment in different industry sectors.

SAG-AFTRA has launched a number of initiatives aimed at stopping sexual harassment on the job. It established a code of conduct for its members, and union leadership has urged a change in industry practices that could provide a climate for harassment. For example, the union's president called for an end to casting and other business meetings in private homes and hotel rooms. The union also signed an agreement with television networks for non-primetime shows that limited auditions in these locations.

Of course, sexual harassment is not a problem limited to the entertainment industry. Employees in many professions have seen their career development significantly hindered due to unwanted sexual advances. An employment lawyer may work with people harassed on the job to seek justice and pursue compensation for their damages.

Source: Rolling Stone, "Entertainment Unions Team to Combat Sexual Harassment", 12/24/2018

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