SAG settles bias suit out of court

Terms not disclosed, union refuses comment

The Screen Actors Guild has reached an out-of-court settlement with a former business rep who alleged race discrimination, the third such settlement by SAG in recent months.

The wrongful-termination action, filed last year in Los Angeles Superior Court by Ray McCoy Daniels Jr., sought unspecified general, special and punitive damages along with attorney’s fees. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed and SAG refused to comment.

Daniels, who is African-American, was hired by SAG in May 1998 and fired in April 2000. The suit alleged the termination stemmed from false accusations of failing to close claims and using the guild’s Internet access excessively; Daniels alleged he had a high percentage of closing claims despite lack of administrative support and said the reasons given for his firing were pretexts.

‘Unwritten racial policy’ alleged

“SAG maintains an unwritten racial policy of exclusion and prejudice such that at least two other employees have brought similar claims against SAG for discrimination and harassment based upon race,” the suit stated.

The settlement follows similar actions by SAG in resolving wrongful-termination suit by two former execs within SAG’s affirmative action department — Thomas Baiz, who is Mexican-American, and Peter Nguyen, who is Asian-American. The guild still faces wrongful termination suits alleging racial discrimination from former affirmative action chief Patricia Heisser Metoyer and ex-contracts administrator Kelley Langford.

SAG’s two top execs within its human resources department also left the guild late last year.

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