FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2008
California Labor Commissioner Prevails in Constitutional Challenge to Talent Agency Act
San Francisco—California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet has prevailed in a federal lawsuit filed by a personal talent manager who sought to challenge the constitutionality of the California Talent Agency Act (TAA).
U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia Snyder granted the Labor Commissioner’s motion to dismiss the suit finding that talent manager Rick Siegel could not state a valid claim for violations of the federal laws stated in his complaint challenging application of the TAA to personal managers. The dismissal of the suit at its early stage prevents it from moving into the district court.
“Although Mr. Siegel claimed that he and his talent management company, Marathon Entertainment, Inc., were not covered under the TAA, he clearly was procuring employment for artists, which are regulated activities under the TAA,” Bradstreet said following last week’s ruling. “If you procure employment for talent in any form you must be licensed as a talent agent or face legal action against you.”
Among other things, Siegel argued that the TAA violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because enforcement of the act differs from enforcement of other regulated occupations. The court found that all of Siegel’s allegations were without merit.
Talent Agency under California law is defined as a person or corporation who engages in the activity of procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment or engagements for an artist or artists who include actors and actresses, musical artists, directors, writers, cinematographers, and models.
The TAA dates back to 1913 when the legislature initially passed the Private Employment Agencies Law to regulate “theatrical employment agencies and theatrical contracts.” The law protected the welfare of artist in the entertainment industry. In 1923, an amendment was added and gave the Labor Commissioner full authority to hold hearings and resolve disputes in these matters.
All talent agencies are required to obtain a license from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Currently there are 544 Talent Agencies registered with the Commissioner’s office.
The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints, and enforces state labor law and Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders. To learn more about the functions of the California Labor Commissioner, visit our web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse.
Employees that have work-related questions or complaints can call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.
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