SAG faces race issue again in latest lawsuit

Former business rep's filing is 4th in past four months

A former business rep for the Screen Actors Guild has sued SAG for alleged wrongful termination, the fourth such suit filed by a minority group member in the past four months.

The action, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by Ray McCoy Daniels Jr., seeks unspecified general, special and punitive damages along with attorney’s fees.

Daniels said in the suit that he is African-American and had been hired by SAG in May 1998 as a residuals clerk, then promoted to associate business rep in production services and business rep in the commercials contracts department.

A SAG spokesman said he could not comment on the suit, which alleges Daniels was fired last year on false accusations of failing to close claims and using the guild’s Internet access excessively, including looking at pornography.

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.

“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 said.

Prior allegations

SAG was sued in April in separate actions by the two former top administrators in its affirmative action department. Patricia Heisser Metoyer, who is African-American, alleged she was placed on leave over her complaints about falsified statistics on the racial makeup of SAG staff; Peter Nguyen said he was harassed and passed over for jobs by senior staff because he is Asian-American, then fired on trumped-up charges in retaliation for pursuing inhouse discrimination allegations and opposing affirmative action budget cuts.

In May, former contracts administrator Kelley Langford alleged racial discrimination in suing SAG for at least $2 million in damages. Langford claimed she was fired on false accusations of conducting personal business while at work, using the guild’s Internet access and email excessively and engaging in “spiritual or religious” activities at work.

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