Actress Gabrielle Union has come forward within an article in Variety magazine regarding workplace harassment on the set of America’ Got Talent. She was hired as a Judge on the hit TV show in the spring of 2019 by executive producer Simon Cowell. It was at the hand of Cowell that Union describes multiple episodes of harassment and a hostile working environment.
The first instance happened when Union, who is extremely allergic, was enveloped in a cloud of cigarette smoke from Cowell himself while on a closed soundstage. Though she began having severe respiratory issues, Cowell continued smoking until he finished his cigarette with the actress just having to endure the reaction. This instance in and of itself was a violation of public health law.
In addition to the smoking, the actress also claims to have been the target of racially charged banter by and between contestants, producers, and other judges, all while Cowell fostered such environment. Though she had a contractual obligation for a second season, both Union and fellow female judge Julianne Hough were released two months after the finale of their inaugural appearances.
There is help for employees who have, or are currently, experiencing toxicity such as this in the workplace. There are laws in place, especially within California, that protect from workplace harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment, and other types of toxic situations. If you are experiencing any of these, consider scheduling a consult with an experienced employment law attorney. Talk through the situation with he or she to determine if you have rights that are being violated, and if so, what can be done about it.