From the average American’s point of view, workplace harassment suits may be relegated to office environments–cubicle mazes filled with discrimination by cold-blooded corporate predators. However, harassment runs across all dimensions of American employment, from corporate settings, to manufacturing, to construction, and so on. Lately, a hurricane of highly publicized lawsuits serve to expose an often ignored segment of American employment: television. At the center of it all you will find the often regarded “nicest man on television.”
Paul Tarascio is a New York-based stage manager for live television. In January, the television professional filed a lawsuit against Jimmy Fallon, as well as many employees that work on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and NBC, claiming gender discrimination. Tarascio claims that he was replaced because Fallon prefers female stage managers. When he went to his superiors–and then to union officials–he said he was fired.
Because of the notoriety of the celebrities at the center of these types of shows, this area of law has garnered national attention. The union-driven industry is high-powered, often ego and market driven, and moves at the speed of light. Hirings and firings are as routine on television as they are among NFL coaches. Because television is a gigantic—and extremely rich—industry, many employees may refrain from bringing an action against these networks and public figures because they fear the loss of opportunities in the industry and question whether they have the wherewithal to take on these financial giants.
A similar case involving a joke made by Jay Leno on his late night show has resulted in a lawsuit. While many of the specifics of both Leno’s and Fallon’s lawsuits are not known, the lawsuits brings to light the common misconception that celebrities are somehow exempt from State and Federal discrimination laws. Discrimination on the basis of gender is just as illegal on a multi-million dollar television set as it is at your local Pizza Hut or any other employer in the country. The law makes no exception for the elite, nor should it. Discrimination in any form is wrong and it is punishable by law.
If you feel you have been victimized at your place of work due to your gender or any other protected basis, then you have the right to seek counsel and assert your legal rights. An experienced discrimination attorney can help you understand the complexities of Federal and New York workplace law as it relates to you. Call the law offices of Valli Kane & Vagnini, LLP now at (866) 441-2873 and get one of NY’s finest employment attorneys on your side.