From cast to crew, there is little question that age discrimination still exists in Hollywood. While stereotypical example is that women of a certain age suddenly stop getting casts for parts; this discrimination may indeed be more prevalent among crew members who are passed over for jobs in favor of younger, albeit less experienced, employees due to concerns that older employees are out of touch or no longer able to put in the long hours required of film and television.
In an effort to combat this discrimination, SAG-AFTRA, together with the Teamsters, WGA-West, the Association of Talent Agents, and the AARP of California, lobbied the California legislature to require subscription entertainment database websites, specifically IMDb.com, to remove a professional’s age upon request. The proposed bill, AB-1687, was introduced by Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) and passed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 24, 2016.
The law does not apply to general information gathering websites. Only websites that “provide specified employment services” to “paid subscriber[s]” are required to remove the subscriber’s age from his/her profile upon request. Proponents of the law believe that subscribers should be able to control what of their information is disseminated to potential employers and that the elimination of age/DOB will reduce the occurrence of actual or implicit age discrimination in the industry.
The media and technology communities have raised concerns with the new law, specifically questioning whether it is a violation of free speech to suppress the publication of factually accurate information. Formal challenges to the law have not yet been filed, but are anticipated.