These standards exist to protect all writers. Inappropriate behavior around co-workers isn’t just unpleasant, it can cost jobs, trigger lawsuits, and change or end careers. You can learn more about your rights and responsibilities here.
Beyond the basic legal requirements that govern every workplace, these standards encourage us all to take responsibility for creating a safe, inclusive and equitable culture in professional interactions with one another (including virtual rooms and meetings).
- TREAT EVERYONE WITH RESPECT
Regardless of title or experience, every person working on a show deserves to be treated with respect.
- SHOW LEADERSHIP
If you’re in a position of power, be sure your staff and crew understand what types of conduct and language are unacceptable. Make the rules clear, make HR info and the Guild reporting system easily accessible and establish a clear chain of command for reporting any issues. If you are an EP, you are responsible for what goes on in the room. Determine who is in charge when you aren’t there.
- CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT OF INCLUSION AND EQUITY
Don’t marginalize anyone based on gender, orientation, race, age, ability, etc. Don’t rely on writers from underrepresented groups to be the voice of their “tribe.” If the comment you’re about to make starts with “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic, BUT...” reconsider that comment.
Cultivate an awareness of the disparities that exist for members of marginalized groups in hiring, advancement, pay, and opportunities to write scripts and produce episodes. When within your power, work to eliminate those disparities.
- CO-WORKERS ARE CO-WORKERS 24/7
All contact with co-workers should be professional. This includes in the writers' room, in the office, on set, in one-on-one meetings, in after-hours texts or emails, at holiday parties, etc. Avoid comments on personal appearance. No touching without clear, explicit consent.
- DON’T MAKE IT PERSONAL
In creative discussions, argue with the idea, not the writer. Keep discussion of controversial topics focused on story/character.
- POWER DOES NOT MAKE YOU POPULAR
Always be mindful of power dynamics. The higher your status on a writing staff, the less likely people are to tell you if you’re making them uncomfortable.
- AND JUST TO STATE THE OBVIOUS…
No porn at work. No sex toys at work. No miming sex at work. No running jokes about having sex with someone at work. No nudity at work. Descriptions of sex should only take place if they are pertinent to the story. No racial slurs, regardless of intent. Even if you think everyone knows never to do things like this at work, make it crystal clear.
- IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING
If you witness something inappropriate, whether it happens to you or someone else, silence is not an option.
If you have witnessed or been the victim of harassment, discrimination, or bullying or if you merely wish to have a confidential discussion with an experienced Guild representative about your situation, including if you’d like a representative to accompany you to file a complaint, you may email Latifah Salom or call (323) 782-4521.
If you are a showrunner, in need of support to implement these standards, please contact Ann Farriday.