AGMA condemns all forms of discrimination and harassment. Because of this, we have taken a leading role in encouraging our employers to create and maintain a workplace free from sexual harassment and discrimination. We are committed to holding our employers responsible for ensuring that all our members have a safe and secure environment in which to work, rehearse, and perform.
AGMA believes in a proactive approach to addressing sexual harassment in the workplace and in work-related activities. As discussed more fully below, we have been assisting our members in identifying and reporting sexual harassment and negotiating with our signatory employers to establish the tools necessary to address misconduct in the workplace. We also are providing our members with access to counseling, legal support and other resources, and collaborating with our sister unions in the entertainment industry to develop “best practices” for confronting and eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace.
For more than 20 years, AGMA has taken a strong stance against sexual harassment (click here for some notes on AGMA's previous reporting system). Some enhancements we'd like to highlight include the following:
Providing a Reporting Mechanism
In 2015, AGMA established a confidential reporting tool to receive reports of sexual and other forms of harassment. We encourage members to report any allegation of discrimination, abuse or harassment in the workplace or in work-related activities. Although members must include their names in the report, if requested, AGMA will keep the members’ names confidential to the fullest extent possible.
Members seeking to file a report of discrimination, abuse or harassment should email AGMA at email@example.com. All reports must include the following information:
- Name of the person making the report;
- Position (i.e., composer, coach, ballet master) of the person making the report;
- Name of the employer;
- Name of the person(s) accused of misconduct;
- Position (i.e., composer, coach, ballet master) of the person(s) accused of misconduct;
- Working relationship of the member to the accused;
- Name, position and contact information of any witness(es) to the misconduct; and;
- Description of the misconduct.
In addition to following-up on individual reports, AGMA reviews reports to see if there are multiple reports about the same individual. Where this occurs, AGMA notifies the employer(s) or, if appropriate, prospective employer(s) involved, and requests that appropriate action, including an investigation, be taken.
Providing Resources for Members Navigating Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment in the Workplace
Working with nationally recognized experts, AGMA has developed expertise and resources to help members who need assistance at work, information, treatment, counseling, or legal advice. Some of these include:
- Representing members with complaints during an employer’s investigation;
- Referring members to counselling and other supports provided by the Actors’ Fund;
- Referring members to the appropriate governmental agencies and legal experts;
- Hosting a safe and confidential monthly sexual harassment support group for members who have experienced sexual harassment. Click here (provide link) for a list of the upcoming meeting dates;
- Ensuring that members accused of misconduct are afforded due process including, where appropriate, representation in the grievance and arbitration process.
All AGMA Staff, including its Counsels, Executives and Business Representatives, receive training on the legal and contractual prohibitions against sexual harassment. We stand with and support our courageous members who have come forward as part of #MeToo. By encouraging our members to speak out, as well as by providing representation, counseling and legal support, we will continue to help create a culture where our members can rehearse and perform in an environment free of harassment and discrimination.
Negotiations with Employers
AGMA has been negotiating meaningful harassment prevention provisions in all of our collective bargaining agreements. These provisions require our signatory companies to deal proactively with harassment in the workplace, and establish policies and practices that, at a minimum, comply with local, state, and federal law.
We also have been attempting to negotiate contract language that allows AGMA to play a more active role in preventing and addressing harassment. We are seeking to strengthen employer harassment policies and ensure meaningful harassment prevention training. We have amended our Guest Artist Agreement to require companies to provide Artists with the companies’ harassment prevention policies, including specific instructions for reporting harassment and discrimination. Additionally, where appropriate, we have asked our employers to engage experts to assess the workplace culture in order to root out systemic harassment and discrimination.
Collaborating with Other Unions to Develop Best Practices
AGMA is collaborating with other arts, entertainment, and media unions to develop strategies and best practices for combatting workplace harassment. In order to strengthen our individual efforts, these unions have pledged to meet regularly and share contract language, training resources, codes of conduct, and effective strategies. The participating unions include:
- Actors’ Equity Association
- American Federation of Musicians
- American Guild of Musical Artists
- American Guild of Variety Artists
- Directors Guild of America
- Guild of Italian American Artists
- International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- Office and Professional Employees International Union
- Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
- Writers Guild of America, East
The official press release can be viewed by clicking this link.
AGMA is committed to continuing to work to ensure that our members are able to rehearse and work in workplaces free of sexual harassment and discrimination.