Television writers in California who are from an underrepresented population might struggle with discrimination in the workplace even once they are hired. According to a study conducted by the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity, 68% of writers say they have faced discrimination in the workplace, a rise from 64% the previous year.
The study demonstrated that simply trying to make diverse hires is insufficient. Companies also need to work to ensure equal treatment. In the survey, nearly half of underrepresented writers said they had been a staff writer more than once, and more than a quarter said they had repeated other positions instead of being promoted. In the writer’s room, the voices of underrepresented writers were not always heard. More than one-third said they had seen characters on their shows who were underrepresented get erased or stereotyped. Another third said they were told changing the identity of a character would make the project more saleable while just over 10% said they were fired when they resisted the use of stereotypes.
More than 90% of people with disabilities said they were the only person in the writer’s room who had a disability. Nearly 17% of people of color reported a similar experience while 6.3% of women respondents did.
People are supposed to be protected against discrimination in the workplace on the basis of such protected characteristics as disability, race and sex. Unfortunately, as this survey demonstrates, this discrimination can sometimes be subtle. Employees who believe they are facing discrimination at work may want to talk to an attorney. An attorney may be able to determine whether the behavior might rise to the level of discrimination that is legally prohibited and then suggest a course of action. The first step for an employee is to find out the company policy on discrimination and how to report it.