Fashion Models

Changes to the Law Would Stop the Exploitation of Models – Sara Ziff

“NEW YORK, United States — Today, the two biggest problems in the global modelling industry are the sexual harassment and financial exploitation of models. The industry’s multi-level employment structure between models, agencies, and clients creates no clear “employer” under current rules and laws, leaving models without workplace protections against these abuses.

Sexual harassment
In a 2012 Model Alliance study of working female models, 30 percent of respondents reported experiencing “inappropriate touching” on the job and 28 percent said they had been pressured to have sex at work. Additionally, 87 percent of respondents had been asked to pose nude at a job or casting without prior notice. Of those who had experienced sexual harassment, only 29 percent reported it to their agencies; of those who did report harassment to their agencies, the vast majority indicated that their agencies did not see the problem. Some models even reported that their agents encouraged them to sleep with their harassers to further their careers.

Most modelling agencies in New York hold that models are “independent contractors”, rather than employees. Under current federal and New York State law, independent contractors are not afforded the same protection from sexual harassment in the workplace as employees (the same is true of wage and hour protections). And, although New York City law protects independent contractors against sexual harassment, because of the multi-level structure of hiring in the modelling industry, the City law generally does not apply to models either. This means that when a model is sexually harassed or has her wages stolen, she has limited legal recourse, because courts may not be willing to hold either the agency or the client liable for the abuses she suffered…” The Business of Fashion has the full story.Photo: screenshot Makers