As part of the Hollywood Commission’s continuous efforts to achieve workplace safety and equity across the entertainment industry, the Anita Hill-run organization has created resources to help employees at production companies.
On Thursday, the Hollywood Commission relaunched its website, providing free resources — a sample workplace conduct policy, employer tool kit and workers’ guide — to be accessed by workers at all production companies, specifically targeting independent production companies.
The materials are meant to guide employees on how to report misconduct and have a safe working environment at smaller indie companies that don’t have Human Resources departments.
Last year, the Hollywood Commission conducted a wide-ranging, industry-wide survey for which 10,000 entertainment employees were questioned about abuse, inclusion, bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace. Among the findings, 65% of those working in television and film production reported at least one bullying behavior, and that their environments are rife with abuse. In TV and film production, the survey found that non-union members who lack access to union protections were twice as likely to report experiencing bullying behaviors than union members, and women ages 24-29 were nearly five times as likely to report bullying behaviors than men ages 50-64.
Based on the data from the Hollywood survey, it was clear that workers at indie production companies are the most vulnerable to these behaviors of harassment, bias and bullying — partly because employees who don’t have a reporting structure in place at their companies have no one to complain to. And, based on data, the perpetrator is often the person in charge.
“The Hollywood Commission’s mission is to create safe and equitable workplaces for all workers in Hollywood, regardless of whether they work for a big, public company or small production shop. Independent production company workers represent a vulnerable part of the entertainment ecosystem that must be addressed,” says Malia Arrington, executive director of the Hollywood Commission.
“Workers have varying levels of protection at independent production companies, depending on the company’s size, budget, in-house staff’s capabilities and whether the production is union,” Arrington says. “The Hollywood Commission is specifically concerned about those independent production companies that don’t have the time, ability or expertise to keep workers safe in the office or on a set.”
Providing an example of unspoken workplace abuses, she shares, “As one Hollywood Survey participant noted, ‘There’s often no legal or HR department in small production companies. When the harasser owns the company, an employee’s only option is to quit or to endure.'”
Last week, the Hollywood Commission announced a partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Together, the organizations will develop a third-party pilot to protect workers at independent production companies and support those companies’ efforts to prevent workplace misconduct — essentially, the two organizations are creating an unofficial, turnkey HR organization for workers who don’t have access to a formal department within their workplace.
With this, employees will have a third-party structure in place where they can report misconduct, obtain advice on best practices and also have an investigation launched, when necessary.
“Production workers are essential in Hollywood and they should be afforded consistent protections in their workplace, whether they work for a major studio or independent production company,” says Arrington. “Every independent production company in Hollywood now has the additional tools necessary to help keep workers safe.”
The new resources were strategically put together in a user-friendly way so that employees could utilize the materials with ease, and have access to state and federal laws, in a digestible manner that is relevant to the Hollywood audience.
Hollywood workers can access the new resources here.