From baseball fields to backstage, the sports and entertainment sectors present a unique set of challenges in employment law. While often typecast as outside the norms of traditional corporate rulebooks, media conglomerates and sports franchises operate in the public eye and know that even the smallest misstep can have a big impact on profits and reputation.
Constangy’s sports and entertainment group is led by attorneys with significant frontline experience working with numerous sporting and entertainment leagues, teams, and other entities. With the strength and depth of our bench, we are able to help industry clients navigate their most critical employment issues successfully.
What Sets Us Apart
We have attorneys who have spent years as insiders in the industry, in both legal and business roles. We have practitioners with in-house employment law experience at major media conglomerates with holdings in film, television, broadcasting, cable, music, theme park and retail operations; as well as national sports leagues and individual sporting teams.
In the entertainment and media worlds, our experience working on the “inside” gives us client-centered knowledge of the issues that arise on film and television productions, studio lot facilities, post production (editing, sound, dubbing, digital distribution), news stations and theme parks. We understand the challenges of dealing with a variety of types of employees including talent (and their outside representatives), union and non-union crew, employees in supporting functions such as accounting, publicity and sales, as well as lower-wage workers in janitorial, food prep and seasonal work.
When it comes to sports, Constangy attorneys have worked in house and as outside counsel for a wide range of collegiate, professional, and non-profit sports entities (including Olympic National Governing Bodies). We are versed in Title IX compliance and have handled numerous matters relating to amateur athletes. Moreover, as with our general entertainment experience, we are versed in all aspects of professional sports operations, and the variety of employment issues that ensue—from broadcasting, to area operations, to the athletes and coaches on the field.
What We Do
- Advising producers, actors, directors, production executives, production department heads on compliance with labor & employment laws in the unique environment of the entertainment industry.
- Developing management and crew training on avoiding discrimination & harassment claims on productions, as well as use of social media and confidentiality requirements.
- Creating policies and agreements used with executives in entertainment companies both in the hiring stage and negotiation of exits.
- Assisting with reorganization planning, layoffs, mergers, WARN Act compliance, and due diligence on acquisitions of subsidiary companies.
- Conducting exempt status reviews for administrative and production employees and representing management in wage and hour litigation matters.
- Counseling with respect to vendors and use of staffing agency employees.
- Advising disciplinary hearings and other participation on grievance proceedings.
- Advising in additional employment-law areas including labor relations, OSHA, ERISA, workers compensation, immigration, as well as in cross-over industries such as education (including Title IX) franchise, retail and construction.
- Obtained dismissal in a wage and hour class action lawsuit claiming that the student-athletes in the NCAA’s 361 Division 1 universities are employees and owed back wages for sports related activities under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Representing the NCAA in a class action lawsuit claiming that the student-athletes in the NCAA’s Pac 12 universities are employees and owed back wages for sports related activities under California state wage and hour laws.
- Represented professional drag racing team in class action alleging meal/rest, overtime and related claims on behalf of racing mechanics and pit workers.
- Represented national newspaper company in class action alleging unlawful classification of newspaper delivery staff as independent contractors.
- Represented advertising agencies in multi-defendant wage hour class action brought by Screen Actors Guild members.
- Represented provider of caddies for a large golf resort hosting professional tournaments a threatened representative action (PAGA) involving the business model in California for use of caddies at golf resorts.
- Regularly hired by a major television network to provide anti-harassment training to talent, crew and supervisors on sitcom and drama productions in Hollywood and Atlanta.
- Advised international reality show production company on development of employee handbooks, templates for settlement agreements, application of disability discrimination rules and special issues involving nonunion crew.
- Outside counsel to well-known advertising agency representing major studios on commission agreements, handbooks, executive contracts and leave of absence issues.
News & Analysis
- NBC News, 12.3.17
- Sharpen Your FOCUS: Perspectives on Workplace Diversity , 1.31.18
- Employment & Labor Insider, 11.3.17
- Employment & Labor Insider, 10.14.17