Quetel cites discrimination, retaliation

HOLLYWOOD — A longtime Screen Actors Guild employee has sued the guild for wrongful termination based on racial discrimination. It’s the seventh such suit in recent years.

Valerie Quetel filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging 22 causes of action and seeking reinstatement, lost wages and unspecified damages. She worked as a benefits administrator and a recruiter in the human resources department.

Quetel, who is African-American, cited a “pattern and practice” of discrimination by SAG against minority employees. She alleges that the guild did not follow its own policies, hired and promoted employees not as qualified as Quetel, gave vague or false reasons for its actions and retaliated against her for complaining about discrimination.

Quetel also alleges that SAG discriminated and retaliated against her due to her stress disability, religion and requests for family leave. In her suit Quetel says she had been an exemplary employee with outstanding performance during her 12 years at SAG.

Over the past year, SAG has resolved five such suits, the most recent in August when it reached a deal with former contracts administrator Kelley Langford, who is African American and Polynesian.

The guild also reached settlements of similar wrongful termination cases with former business rep Ray McCoy Daniels Jr., who is African-American, and a pair of former affirmative action execs — Thomas Baiz, who is Mexican American, and Peter Nguyen, who is Asian American.

However, SAG remains in litigation with former affirmative action director Patricia Heisser Metoyer, who accused the guild of firing her in 2001 on bogus grounds after she accused SAG execs of discrimination and of overstating the number of minorities on guild staff. SAG countersued earlier this year, alleging fraud and breach of fiduciary responsibility.

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