The Directors Guild of America has filed suit against Warner Bros. studio, charging discrimination against women and minorities by "white, male" executives with "unfettered discretion" in hiring.
In a class action suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the guild asked that Warner Bros. be barred from such alleged practices, set up an affirmative action plan and provide back pay and seniority for persons wrongfully denied employment.
"The record of the industry is not a good one," said Chuck Warn, a guild spokesman, "but Warner Bros. is the only one of seven studios to flatly refuse to negotiate with us on specific goals and timetables."
The Directors Guild, which represents about 6,700 directors, production workers and stagehands, charged that the studio "has no established system to inform interested applicants of openings in any jobs"; that "employes with hiring authority have unfettered discretion and are provided with no guidelines to follow," and that "virtually all persons who carry out hiring are men and members of the white race."
Warn said that in the past two years Warner Bros. has not hired any women directors, and that only 2.8 percent of all directing work was performed by minorities.
According to the guild, the studio engages in "word-of-mouth recruitment by white, male employes," who "prefer to hire their white and male friends."
The number of women and minority directors hired by studios other than Warner Bros. was not available. Warn said that because of ongoing discussions, "we agreed not to publicly discuss their the other studios' hiring history."
A spokesman for Warner Bros. said the studio would not comment on the litigation.