Producers Of Criminal Minds To Pay $3 Million To Resolve CRD Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
December 16, 2022
For Immediate Release
Defendant ABC Signature, LLC will take corrective measures to prevent future discrimination
Sacramento – The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) has reached a $3 million settlement with the producers of the television series Criminal Minds to resolve allegations that male crew members on the set of the show were sexually harassed by the show’s director of photography, and then retaliated against for complaining about the harassment.
"Crew members courageously came forward to assert their right to make a living free from sexual harassment,” said CRD Director Kevin Kish. “No matter the industry, workplace setting, or gender of the employees, companies must address credible complaints of harassment and retaliation and take action against harassers."
After investigating a CRD Director’s complaint, CRD filed suit in May 2020 on behalf of a group of male crew members, alleging that ABC Signature, LLC, which produced Criminal Minds, other production companies, individual producers, and the director of photography of Criminal Minds violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Ralph Civil Rights Act, and a provision in the Civil Code that prohibits sexual harassment in business, service, and professional relationships. CRD’s suit alleged that for 14 seasons of the program, the director of photography subjected male crew members to sexual harassment, including unwanted touching and caressing, and made unwelcome and threatening comments. The production companies and producers ignored harassment on set, failed to act despite multiple complaints, and fired crew members for complaining about the harassment.
Pursuant to a three-year consent decree resolving this case, ABC Signature will pay $3 million for a class of approximately twelve individuals, revise and distribute policies to all shows produced by ABC Signature, train production and human resources employees, meet regularly with production supervisors and HR to ensure there are no unaddressed complaints of harassment/retaliation on set, and report on compliance annually to CRD.
Assistant Chief Counsel Nelson Chan, Associate Chief Counsel Rumduol Vuong, FEH Counsel Soyeon Mesinas, Mackenzie Anderson, and Miriam Rofael represented CRD
CRD is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. Formerly known as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the mission of the CRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-fund programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.