“Criminal Minds” producers sued over harassment claims

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2020 | Employment Law |

Delaware fans of the CBS television series “Criminal Minds” might be interested to learn that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the show’s production companies and executive producers. The complaint was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in late May.

According to the lawsuit, The Walt Disney Company, ABC Signature Studios, CBS Studios and the entire “Criminal Minds” executive production team knowingly allowed the show’s director of photography to sexually harass people on the set for years. The complaint contends that, instead of taking steps to prevent the harassment, the defendants actually condoned the conduct. It also claims that the executive producers fired any member of the show’s crew who resisted or complained about the abuse.

DFEH began investigating the show after a former technician filed a complaint saying he was fired for evading and reporting a butt slap by the director of photography. A former video playback employee also claimed that he was fired for corroborating the technician’s allegations. The lawsuit accuses Walt Disney Employee Relations of conducting “inadequate investigations” into the harassment claims that were “designed to exonerate” the alleged perpetrator. ABC Studios, which is a division of Disney, issued a statement saying that the company cooperated with the DFEH investigation and intends to “vigorously” fight the allegations put forth in the lawsuit.

State and federal laws protect many employees from workplace sexual harassment. Individuals who believe they are the victims of on-the-job harassment might find relief by contacting an employment attorney as soon as possible. After reviewing the details of the case, the attorney may suggest filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the equivalent state agency. This might result in a settlement that covers back pay, front pay, lost benefits, emotional distress and other related damages.