Members of the Writers Guild of America West have been urged by staff to not sign COVD-19 liability waivers, which exempt employers from their legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace.
The directive was sent to the 10,000 WGA members by the guild staff and asserted, “Your employer is required by law to provide a safe and healthy workplace both in the room and on set. The WGAW has collected studio guidelines so we can better advise you. Please do not sign a waiver of liability that seeks to shift responsibility onto your shoulders.”
The notice mirrors efforts by other Hollywood unions to prevent members from signing such agreements amid the COVID-19 pandemic. SAG-AFTRA told its members in June, “SAG-AFTRA has learned that some employers are asking performers to execute various forms containing assumption of risk language and/or a COVID-19-related liability waiver as a condition of employment. SAG-AFTRA has not agreed to permit the use of any such forms or language, and members are instructed not to execute any form containing such language until further notice.”
The Los Angeles-based WGA West noted that California and many other state and local guidelines currently require employees who can to work remotely.
“If you are asked to provide services on a production set, you should first request a copy of your production’s specific safety protocols,” the message added. “The political and entertainment industry responses to the virus are continually evolving, so we appreciate information members are providing about their real-life specific experiences. These reports allow the Guild to continue to adjust our own guidance and advocacy for members’ well-being on the job. Please let us know what your employer is doing and if you feel safe.”