Search form

Broadway’s ‘Hamilton’ Casting Call Ad Runs Afoul of Discrimination Laws

By Linda R. Carlozzi and Christopher M. Repole
  • April 1, 2016

Recent publicity surrounding a casting call for the Broadway musical “Hamilton” should remind employers of the danger of using discriminatory criteria in job ads.

The production of “Hamilton” has generated widespread attention and praise, at least in part because of its diverse cast. When the show’s producers issued a casting call seeking “non-white men and women” to audition, the ad drew criticism from the union representing theater actors, among others. Actors’ Equity argued the casting call was regulated by the union’s rules, and that Hamilton’s producers violated those rules. The producers have agreed to amend the ad language to indicate that people of all races and ethnicities are invited to audition, while stating that the show remains committed to hiring a diverse cast.

While the controversy over the Hamilton ad may raise issues specific to employers in the arts, employers in all industries should take note. Federal law prohibits discrimination in job ads on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. State and local laws may prohibit additional types of job ad discrimination.

Advertising diversity as a goal is permissible, but exclusionary rules such as those used by Hamilton’s producers are not. The lesson from this episode is clear: no matter the industry, employers should avoid using such criteria in describing desired job candidates.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

October 30, 2017

Chicago Adopts ‘Hands Off Pants On’ Law to Protect Hotel Workers from Sexual Harassment, Assault

October 30, 2017

To provide hospitality workers greater protections against sexual harassment and assault, the Chicago City Council passed the “Hands Off Pants On” Ordinance on October 11, 2017. The Ordinance requires all hotels in the City to adopt a panic button system and an anti-sexual harassment policy. The Ordinance was passed after months of... Read More

October 24, 2017

California Adds ‘Transgender,’ ‘Gender Nonconforming Individuals’ to Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for Supervisors

October 24, 2017

Employers subject to California’s mandatory sexual harassment training requirement for supervisors will need to ensure their programs include prevention of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation following an amendment (SB 396) to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). On October 15... Read More

October 5, 2017

Department of Justice Releases Memorandum Restricting Transgender Worker Protection under Title VII

October 5, 2017

On October 4, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the Department of Justice’s position that gender identity is protected as part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination — taking a position that is contrary to current guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In a... Read More

Related Practices