As we discussed in a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter in April, the entertainment industry faces unique challenges as it plans to resume operations.  On May 20, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom suggested that California would release guidelines for reopening the entertainment industry by Memorial Day.  However, to date, California’s Public Health Officer has not released any targeted guidance regarding reopening the industry.

The industry took charge and established an industry-wide labor-management safety committee task force, comprised of representatives from SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America, IATSE, a collection of studios and a number of other industry stakeholders (the “Task Force”).  Yesterday, the  Task Force released its Proposed Health and Safety Guidelines for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Production During the COVID-19 Pandemic (the “Guidelines”), available here.

The Guidelines stress the importance of scientific and medical expertise and rely on current guidance from the CDC and OSHA, as well as input from a medical consultant, the Chief Infection Prevention Officer at UCLA Health.  Among key provisions, the Guidelines:

  • Require social distancing to the maximum extent possible, and provide specific suggestions relating to meetings, writers’ rooms, video village, audiences, casting, transportation and location scouting;
  • Stress the importance of regular, periodic COVID-19 testing;
  • Emphasize the need for flexible leave policies;
  • Encourage the use of universal symptom monitoring and daily personnel questionnaires;
  • Require that cast and crew be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment;
  • Describe hand washing protocols and require the provision of hand sanitizer;
  • Provide detailed cleaning protocols for facilities, vehicles and equipment; and
  • Mandate the designation of one or more dedicated COVID-19 Compliance Officer(s) to ensure adherence to safety protocols.

The Guidelines are designed to be used by government officials in creating safety protocols and, to that end, the Task Force shared them today with Governors of both New York and California.  The Guidelines note, overall, that production may resume only upon the approval of the public health authorities based on the Roadmap to Recovery framework and that a staged reopening process may be necessary.

Photo of Tony Oncidi Tony Oncidi

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination…

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Photo of Kate Gold Kate Gold

Kate Gold is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department in the Los Angeles office.

Kate has over 25 years of experience representing clients in a range of industries, across all areas of employment law.  An experienced litigator, she has represented…

Kate Gold is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department in the Los Angeles office.

Kate has over 25 years of experience representing clients in a range of industries, across all areas of employment law.  An experienced litigator, she has represented clients in all types of employment-related suits, including class and collective actions, discrimination, retaliation and harassment, non-compete and wage/hour matters.  In addition to litigating, she conducts high-level workplace investigations and routinely counsels clients on matters involving the full range of state and federal employment issues.

Photo of Philippe A. Lebel Philippe A. Lebel

Philippe (Phil) A. Lebel represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including wage and hour, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, defamation, trade secrets, and breach of contract litigation, in both the single-plaintiff and class- and/or representative-action context, at both the trial and…

Philippe (Phil) A. Lebel represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including wage and hour, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, defamation, trade secrets, and breach of contract litigation, in both the single-plaintiff and class- and/or representative-action context, at both the trial and appellate level, and before administrative agencies.

In addition to his litigation work, Phil regularly advises clients regarding compliance with federal, state and local employment laws, and assists a variety of companies and financial firms in evaluating labor and employment issues in connection with corporate transactions. Phil also has experience assisting employers with sensitive employee investigations and trainings.  Phil also represents employers in connection with labor law matters, such as labor arbitrations and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board.

Phil has assisted clients in a wide array of sectors including in the biotech, education, entertainment, financial services, fitness, healthcare, high-tech, legal services, manufacturing, media, professional services, sports, and staffing industries, among others.

Phil regularly speaks on emerging issues for employers and has been published or quoted in Law360, the Daily JournalThe Hollywood ReporterBusiness Insurance, and SHRM.org regarding a variety of labor and employment law topics.

During college, Phil worked on political campaigns in Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama, and was an intern with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. Phil is a former member of the Board of Directors of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel.