Sexual harassment can have a profoundly damaging affect on women’s working lives. The Equality Act 2010 defines sexual harassment as ‘when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded because they treat you in a sexual way… This covers verbal and physical treatment, like sexual comments or jokes, touching, or assault. It also covers sending emails of a sexual nature, or putting up pornographic pictures.’
It is also considered discrimination when someone treats you unfairly because you refuse to put up with sexual harassment. Learn about your rights and resources below.
If you experience sexual harassment, including suggestive language, in an audition, you can contact Equity confidentially [here].
Note: you should never be asked to undress in an audition. If nudity or partial nudity is required in a recall, it should be explicitly stated in advance, and you should be allowed to bring a third party with you if you so choose. If you have any concerns, contact Equity. [contact Equity].
Body-shaming is the deliberate humiliating of an individual by making mocking or defamatory comments about their body shape or size. Body-shaming is a form of bullying, and is unacceptable in the workplace. In certain instances, body-shaming can constitute discrimination, which is illegal. Members who experience body-shaming have a right to report any body shaming they experience from any individual they work with.
You can report it here
For more information and support, visit the Mix
Fatphobia occurs regularly in our industry, where ‘thinness’ is considered attractive and desirable, and fatness considered pejorative, unattractive, pathological, and even shameful. Fatphobia impacts everything from access to health care to the ability to choose clothing — and, more generally, the ability to exist in the public space, and to access employment.
For more information on Fatphobia visit GROW Think Tank
For advice and guidance on bullying, click here
If you are experiencing domestic abuse and it is affecting your work, contact Equity. We can support you to take action. Every conversation is confidential, and we won’t take anything further without your agreement. Go to our contact us page to find your official or call the Equity helpline on 0207 680 0268.
If there is an emergency, please call the police on 999.
Additionally, see Equity’s domestic abuse support resources here for advice you on how to find help if you’re experiencing domestic abuse and what to do if it’s affecting your work.
High-risk work and workplaces are those that pose a greater degree of risk of harm to members as a result of the working environment, for example, where you are in an unconventional workplace or space, working alone, or using hazardous equipment with little or no safeguards or training.
High risk work and workplaces include, but are not limited to: where you are lone working, domestic homes, historic or disused buildings, visitor attractions, immersive theatre or street-based performance. They may also include conventional workplaces also, and particularly where there is a high degree of negligence towards health, safety and welfare standards, for example, limited or no security staff.
The risk may also arise from the location of the workplace, for example that it is isolated, with little or no public transport. Additionally, you may have concerns with having to share transport with someone you do not know well as a means to get to a venue. In more general terms also, Equity understands that members can sometimes feel a lack of safety around co-workers in what may be considered a low risk workplace.
If you are unsure of whether a workplace is unsafe, consider these questions:
- Have you been forewarned of hazards posed as a result of your work (e.g. close proximity to the public and/or including their consumption of alcohol) in advance of work commencing?
- Have you received any health, safety or welfare guidance on managing the risk of hazards occurring i.e. reducing the likelihood of being harmed?
One aspect of high-risk work is the possibility of being stalked as a result of your work. This includes being followed when away from home, being under surveillance on social media, and/or being subject to behaviour which is intimidating or induces fear.
Equity has produced guidance for members who believe they are being stalked: Being stalked? Sources of support.
Where members feel unsafe as a result of the work they are contracted to do they should contact Equity for advice before engaging in any potentially high-risk work.
Intimacy and nudity work must always be negotiated with consent. You have the right to request the presence of an Intimacy Coordinator or Intimacy Director for scenes of an intimate nature, and you have the right to have a person of your choice present if nudity is required.
Equity has been working with industry Intimacy professionals and BECTU to develop best practice guidance around intimacy and nudity.
Read the guidance:
- Guidelines for engaging intimacy directors for live performance
- Guidelines for engaging intimacy coordinators on Film/TV
- Advice for performers
If you have any concerns, would like help negotiating with an employer, or want to report bad practice, contact Equity.
All Equity members are entitled to free legal advice. Get legal support here.
Non-Disclosure Agreements, or NDAs, should never prevent you from reporting sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviour. If you have a concern about an NDA, speak to us confidentially.
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), or confidentiality clauses, are common in the entertainment industry. They typically appear in contracts and, when used properly, are a valid means to limit the sharing of material to third parties and to maintain confidentiality.
These agreements have however become overused by some employers to limit the disclosure of criminal acts or other behaviour (for example sexual harassment) which is unacceptable and should be disclosed to a third party, including the police or Equity.
Even where you have signed an NDA a reputable employer will have a formal process for the reporting of any concerns you have to them. These procedures are sometimes called a grievance or dispute procedure. The employer may also have a whistleblowing procedure which allows for the anonymous reporting of serious concerns around negligence or criminal acts.
You should contact Equity with any concerns regarding an NDA, and particularly if an employer, engager or agent is advising you not to.
Nudity clauses vary across agreements. If you need information on the agreement you are working on, or have concerns about a non-Equity contract, you can contact Equity for further assistance and support or call us on 020 7379 6000
Remember, even if you have signed a nudity clause, you have the right to change your mind at any point.
Equity has a zero-tolerance approach to any form of bullying or harassment of our members. If you have concerns around your treatment at work, speak to Equity as soon as possible. Every conversation is confidential and they won’t take any action without your agreement.
Note: If you are being stalked or think someone is developing stalking behaviour around you, you should contact the police immediately (call 999 in an emergency, otherwise call 101) and the National Stalking Helpline (0808 802 0300)
ACAS GUIDE TO BULLYING AND HARASSMENT - ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) provides free and impartial information and advice on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law.
ASK FOR ANGELA - Initiative for safety in venues and bars: if you feel unsafe, #AskforAngela.
FEDERATION OF ENTERTAINMENT UNIONS - Federation of Entertainment Union’s guide to dealing with bullying, harassment and discrimination
FEDERATION OF SCOTTISH THEATRES -Support for freelancers in tackling harassment in the performing arts
RAPE CRISIS - Rape Crisis is the umbrella body for a network of independent Rape Crisis Centres. Centres provide specialist support and services for victims and survivors of sexual violence.
WOMEN’S AID - Women’s Aid is a grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services in England and build a future where domestic abuse is not tolerated.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES
Government Domestic Violence Guidance - Find out how to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.
J9 - The J9 Domestic Abuse Initiative aims to raise awareness of domestic abuse and assist victims to seek the help they so desperately need.