The #MeToo movement has drawn increasing attention to the problem of workplace sexual harassment in Nashville and across the country. The entertainment industry, from music to movies, has been a particularly significant target of the campaign as serious examples of sexual assault have been revealed in a number of reports, lawsuits and personal stories shared on social media. As a result, several large labor unions in the industry have come together to create a pledge against sexual harassment.
The unions involved in the effort include Actors’ Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, American Federation of Musicians, the Directors’ Guild of America and the Writers’ Guild of America, East. The alliance came out of a meeting on Dec. 13 in which the unions agreed to share codes of conduct, contract language and best practices to deal with sexual harassment across the industry. In the year since harassment in entertainment became a major news story, SAG-AFTRA has adopted a number of initiatives on workplace harassment. The union has called for an end to the convening of professional meetings at homes and private hotel rooms, saying that these environments have led to exploitation, harassment and even sexual assault.
In August 2018, members of the union ratified a new contract with major television networks addressing non-primetime shows. For the first time, provisions were explicitly included to limit the use of hotel rooms and homes for auditions. Spokespeople for the unions noted that all of the creative professions have an important role to play in changing the workplace climate.
Sexual harassment on the job continues to affect women workers, preventing them from reaching their full potential in their careers. Employees who have been harassed in the workplace can consult with an employment lawyer about actions they can take to seek compensation for the damages they have suffered.