Can This New Law Prevent Age Discrimination in the Movie Industry?

In 2016, California lawmakers passed and signed AB1687, a law that seeks to prevent age discrimination in the entertainment industry. AB1687 went into effect on January 1st. It specifically targets how information on the ages of performers is displayed on subscription-based entertainment websites like the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Executives in the entertainment industry use websites like IMDb for casting or hiring decisions. There are concerns these executives use this biographical information to filter out qualified, but older candidates.

According to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the law would help prevent age discrimination during the casting and hiring process. Thanks to the legislation, entertainers can request for their age information to be removed from these websites, or never posted in the first place.

IMDb and other opponents to the law claim it limits freedom of speech. According to opponents, the law is unconstitutional because it limits companies like IMDB from displaying factual information online. Other opponents claim the law is useless because casting directors can pull this information from elsewhere. There is also an ongoing debate as to whether this law will survive litigation in the near future.

Although the law went into effect earlier this month, IMDb has not fulfilled the requests of entertainers who want their birthdays removed from the website. Instead, the Amazon-owned company is suing the state of California. IMDb has received more than 2,300 requests from entertainers to remove their birthdays. This includes 10 Oscar winners and 81 Oscar nominees.

Are Entertainers Already Protected from Age Discrimination?

Entertainers and other workers have workplace protections against age discrimination. Under the right circumstances, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects employees 40 and older from this type of discrimination.

The Los Angeles employment law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. can help workers harmed by age discrimination discover available legal options.

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