California has more employment laws than any other state. Trying to keep up to date is a daunting task for any employer – and yes, all studios and producers in California are employers. In 2011 the California Legislature passed the Wage Theft Prevention Act. This simple piece of legislation requires that all California employers provide a notice to all of their employees pointing out certain employment related information.
In an industry where it is sometimes difficult for a performer to know who they are actually working for, this notice is meant to clarify those issues as well as others. Employers are now required to use and provide this notice to all non-exempt employees when they are first hired. Meaning – this is another piece of paperwork, like a model release or 2257 document that must be filled out on set. The employer is also required to have the employee sign the document so that they can prove that the notice was actually received by the employee. Obviously, a copy must be provided to the performer.
So what happens if a studio or producer does not provide a copy of this notice to their performer-employees ? A civil penalty of one hundred dollars ($100) for each aggrieved employee per pay period for the initial violation and two hundred dollars ($200) for each aggrieved employee per pay period for each subsequent violation. Usually there is a 1 year statute of limitations for these types of claims.
If your studio produces 3 scenes per week with 2 performers per scene, each and every week, the potential penalty could be $31,200.00 (6 employees x 52 weeks x $100) for failure to provide the notice to your performer-employees. For a second violation those penalties would jump to $62,400.00. In addition to these fees, the studio/producer would also be responsible to pay attorneys fees.
Its important to note, the form requires a studio or producer to identify their workers’ compensation insurance company to the performer.
Here are some frequently asked questions…
Here’s a link to download the form…
Here is the form that the California Department of Industrial Relations has issued that should be used;