May 9, 2021

Volume XI, Number 129

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May 07, 2021

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

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.

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Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume VI, Number 108
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About this Author

Linda R. Carlozzi, Jackson Lewis, arbitration proceedings lawyer, corporate transactions attorney
Principal

Linda R. Carlozzi is a Principal in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She joined the firm in 1997 and focuses her practice on traditional labor law.

Ms. Carlozzi counsels clients in the development and implementation of preventive labor and employee relations programs. She advises both unionized and union-free clients on a full range of labor and employee relations matters, with a focus on traditional labor law. She has represented numerous employers during arbitration proceedings and negotiations....

212-545-4040
Associate

Christopher M. Repole is an Associate in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counsel.

While attending law school, Mr. Repole served as Notes and Comments Editor of the Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial and Commercial Law and as Vice President of the Moot Court Honor Society, for which he received the Moot Court Honor Society Award.

Prior to...

212-545-4019
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