When companies in Indiana make an effort to hire workers from underrepresented populations, they must also take steps to ensure that they receive equal treatment in the workplace. A study of TV writers conducted by the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity found that 68% of underrepresented writers reported harassment and discrimination in the workplace, some of it overt and some of it subtle.
For example, while more than 39% said they had seen characters from underrepresented groups erased or stereotyped on their shows, just over 10% said they were fired because they objected to storylines or characters that were stereotypical. Being asked to change the identity of a character to increase a project’s salability was reported by 33% of writers.
Many of the respondents struggled to get promotions with nearly half saying they had been a staff writer more than once instead of getting promoted, and over one-quarter said they had repeated other job titles. Just one-third were given the title of showrunner. Over 90% of writers with disabilities reported that they were the only disabled people in the writer’s room. Overall, nearly one-third of writers said they had been sexually harassed. More than half said that they had been harassed or bullied in some other way.
People who are part of a protected class are supposed to be protected against workplace discrimination based on being a member of that class. If they do experience harassment or discrimination at work, they should be able to report it without retaliation. However, in practice, workplace situations may not unfold in this way. An employer may demote, fire or refuse to promote an individual who has reported discrimination or harassment and claim that it was for performance reasons. Individuals who are dealing with discrimination at work might want to consult an attorney.