Sexual harassment is a form of illegal discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the March AFM International Executive Board meeting, the board adopted an updated sexual harassment policy that is unambiguous and instructive. The policy applies to all AFM employees whether they work in our New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, or Washington, DC, offices, as well as those AFM employees who work “on the road” (international representatives and negotiators/organizers).
On March 1, the Canadian Federation of Musicians launched the first Canadian Music Industry Anti-Harassment Summit in Toronto. Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly addressed the Summit via Skype. Joly and Canadian Heritage support the goals of the meeting body and will look to us to set policy that Heritage can endorse and help us to enforce against victimizers.
Also in attendance at the summit were representatives from the Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Heritage Department of Music Policy and Programs, Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAs)/JUNO Awards, East Coast Music Association, Canadian Actors Equity Association, Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) Toronto, ACTRA RACS, Canadian Music Publishers Association, Screen Composers Guild of Canada, Toronto Arts Council, Music Canada, Musicians Rights Organization Canada, Songwriters Association of Canada, Women in Music Canada, and more.
The goal of the summit, according to AFM/CFM Executive Director Liana White was to work together to create an industry-wide policy against harassment in work and performance places, to protect ourselves, our colleagues, and our audiences. CFM’s mission statement includes treating each other with respect and dignity without regard to ethnicity, creed, sex, age, disability, citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or national origin.
The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which is recognized as having the highest standards and therefore can be applied in all provinces, defines workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome.”
It can include:
- Remarks, jokes, and innuendos that ridicule, intimidate, or offend
- Verbal, physical, psychological abuse
- Exclusionary behavior
- Displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials in any form
CFM members need to have a safe and respectful work environment, whomever they work with and wherever they work.
There is no doubt that the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) has been predominantly concerned of late in seeking new employers to bargain agreements with, and specifically those involved in media. Recording—on camera and off—presents an assortment of revenue streams for members in the areas of capture, reuse, new use, supplemental markets and new media, or streaming. This is important work and extremely valuable to the musicians employed in those areas.