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Thelawman2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1395
Experience:  Attorney-at-Law
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I am a retired disabled person who ten years has

Customer Question

I am a retired disabled person who for about ten years has made extra money doing small acting roles including extra work and as a real person model.
I realize there are special rules that allow some discrimination in this work .
I do not believe they are completely exempt and have only been called twice by one casting director here In SF. The first time she cast me as an extra and I was actually working on her project when I was told they did not want to use me because i have a limp. She claimed they felt that they would have to explain why I limped but that would be very unusual for an extra. She also blamed me for not telling her I had limp on the phone later. Usually extras are just one level above props and in this case no mention was made in the casting announcement or when I was booked on the phone of any special requirements. Usually if some special physical need is required that is stated in the casting announcement and I am very careful about not submitting for roles that might be a problem For example they filmed San Andreas here in SF and the notices for extras stated that people would need to be able to run in fear multiple times. I did not submit for those even though disabled people are affected by earthquakes also.
That episode was years ago and I never pursued a complaint because casting agents have so much power if you cross them it can hurt your work opportunities. Probably the wrong choice because it was years before she called me again a few days ago. Hard to believe she is still in business and it took that long for me to fit a role she was casting and I submitted for and she honestly considered me. Pure speculation but may reveal a pattern.
She called me a few days ago and asked me if I was available for a role I said yes . We discussed a few other matters then out of the blue she asked me if I was the one who used a cane. After all this time and since I have never used a cane I thought she was talking about someone else and questioned this. Her response was that she thought she remembered that and was not sure they would want a person who needed a cane. Again no mention in the casting ad about a disability being a problem. I told her after things became a little heated that this was the second time in only two contacts that my disability has been an issue for her.
Can you tell me if this could be a legal case of discrimination? Unfortunately casting agents have so much power of a person's work many like me the first time might let her do things without question and that might lead her to believe the conduct is okay.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 2 years ago.
This case would be a close call. The question is whether not walking with a limp/cane would be considered a job essential function. It seems like there wouldn't necessarily be any reason why a disability would prevent the roles that you tried out for since it was not mentioned in the casting role. Also, they wouldn't be able to say that there was someone better to do the role since you were offered it.The reason the case is close though is because the casting director might always say that they found a better actor (it is so subjective). But you could say that is just pretext and the real reason that you were let go was because of your disability.
Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 2 years ago.
Please let me know if you have any further questions!