Local 829 considers workplace discrimination and harassment a major safety issue. In response to the recent revelations in our industry and beyond, we stand in solidarity with IATSE and the other entertainment labor unions in condemning sexual harassment, hostile work environments, abuse, and discrimination in every form. We must work together to change the culture of our industry to ensure safe, equitable, and respectful workplaces for all of our members.
Click here to download a printable infographic postcard designed by Local USA 829's Respectful Workplace Taskforce.
What is Sexual Harassment? The State of New York provides the following guidance.
Sexual harassment in the form of a “hostile environment” consists of words, signs, jokes, pranks, intimidation or physical violence which are of a sexual nature, or which are directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex. Sexual harassment also consists of any unwanted verbal or physical advances, sexually explicit derogatory statements, or sexually discriminatory remarks made by someone in the workplace which are offensive or objectionable to the recipient, which cause the recipient discomfort or humiliation, or which interfere with the recipient’s job performance.
A type of sexual harassment known as “quid pro quo” harassment occurs when a person in authority tries to trade job benefits for sexual favors. This can include hiring, promotion, continued employment or any other terms conditions or privileges of employment. Only supervisors and managers are deemed to engage in this kind of harassment, because co-workers do not have the authority to grant or withhold benefits.
Sexual harassment can occur between males and females, or between persons of the same sex. Sexual harassment that occurs because the victim is transgender is also unlawful.
A single incident of inappropriate sexual behavior may be enough to rise to the level of sexual harassment, depending on the severity of such incident. The law requires that the behavior be severe or pervasive, so that one joke or comment may not be enough to be sexual harassment. However, the courts have held that a single incident could be considered sexual harassment, depending on the circumstances.
What should you do if you think you are dealing with harassment?
It is extremely helpful to document as much information as possible surrounding any incident including those with your employer’s Human Resources department. You can find informative guides for documentation here. You can also download a sample harassment complaint form here.
If you feel comfortable, tell the offending party that his/her behavior is unwelcome and needs to stop. Responding directly will not always change the behavior, but it does communicate that it is unwanted and educates the harasser on his/her behavior.
If you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation as outlined above, the first and most effective route is to report it to your employer directly. Doing so creates an official record in response to which employers must investigate and act upon their findings. The prospect of this process can be intimidating and it can be uncomfortable to feel that you are ‘rocking the boat.’ However in an effort to change the culture to one of zero tolerance, it is imperative that you report any and all incidents and behaviors. This applies to all types of harassment including instances of bullying.
In New York, an employer is now required to give you the contact information of designated people assigned to receive harassment complaints. If your employer has failed to provide this information, please report that fact to the union. If you are unsure of whom to contact at your job, the union can help guide you to that information.
Local USA 829 recognizes that people often feel unsafe and unsure about relaying incidents to employer or superiors, therefore we encourage you to report incidents to the Local’s business office and/or the IATSE Safety Hotline (see below) which can help guide you through the various options appropriate to your situation, with full confidentiality. You can contact Local 829 by calling 212-581-0300 (main) or direct dial the business representative with whom you normally deal. See Contact Us. If you are more comfortable speaking to someone of your sex, make the request and the appropriate representative will be assigned to help you.
IATSE Safety Hotline (844 IA AWARE / 844-422-9273)
When a member calls the toll-free hotline, the caller can either leave a message for or talk directly to a safety representative who will begin handling the issue. Depending on the circumstances, the safety representative will contact the local union’s representative and assist with the issue, or call the employer directly.
The organization gives male survivors (one in six men have been sexually abused) the opportunity to connect and heal through free and anonymous online support sessions, which “meet” every Monday and Wednesday. They also offer trauma-informed trainings and webinars for service providers and organizations around the world. For those who need one-on-one support, a helpline offers a trained crisis-line volunteer who will work to help identify and connect with local resources.
The Actors Fund ( 917-281-5919 email@example.com)
Provides free, confidential counseling, support, and legal referrals to all professionals in performing arts and entertainment.
Founded by former 20th Century Fox tech exec Claire Schmidt, this website launching in early 2018 will let any employee from any company anonymously report harassment or bias directly to their employer's CEO and board. The startup also will provide information for other service providers, such as legal counsel.
Better Brave (www.betterbrave.com)
Online guide to help targets of sexual harassment understand their rights and options for addressing issues with an employer. Provides a template for recording incidents of sexual harassment.
Crisis Text Line (www.crisistextline.org Text HOME to 741741)
Text Home to 741741 for free, 24/7 crisis support in the US.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1-800-669-4000 www.eeoc.gov)
Responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee based on their protected class. File a complaint against an employer online or over the phone. The website also contains information on the law and employee rights.
New York City Bar Legal Referral Service (917-746-3300 www.nycbar.org)
Legal referral service through the bar association. Search for legal services based on issue and area. Provides free consultation with volunteer lawyers on Monday nights.
New York City Commission on Human Rights (718-722-3131 NYC.gov/HumanRights)
Division of local government responsible for enforcing human rights laws. File a complaint through their website or by calling. Website contains comprehensive information on the reporting process.
New York State Division of Human Rights (1-888-392-3644 www.dhr.ny.gov)
Division of state government responsible for investigating violations of human rights in the workplace, including sexual harassment. File a complaint online or via phone. Contains information on the process of filing a claim and the steps taken once a complaint is filed.
National Organization for Women, New York City (212-627-9895 www.nownyc.org)
Advocacy and support organization that provides a Helpline and online resources to women in New York City who have experienced sexual harassment and employment discrimination in the workplace. Not all resources listed are exclusive to women.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (800-656-HOPE)
RAINN, founded by musician Tori Amos in 1994, is the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the U.S. With experts in victim services and public policy, the group takes a victim-centered, trauma-informed approach to providing services, including legal.
Safe Horizon (212-227-3000 www.safehorizon.org firstname.lastname@example.org)
New York City based organization providing free counseling, advocacy and legal referrals to victims of sexual violence.
Women in Film (323-545-0333)
This nonprofit launched the Sexual Harassment Help Line with seed money provided by WME. Anyone, male or female or non-binary, can call Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST; after-hours calls will be returned during business hours. Callers will be referred to mental health counselors, law enforcement, and civil and criminal lawyers.