Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Contractual, Legal and Ethical Job Advertisement - Letter of complaint.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter in relation to the Apprentice Digital Video Production Producer job advert I have seen. The job description for part of a factual programme production team, has a variety of discriminating terms that one has to comply with to apply. For example the age of compliance in your job advert is below 30, this is a violation of the Equality Act 2010, it states it is illegal to discriminate an individual because of their age, this is called protected characteristics. A contract is a piece of material you sign to agree to a particular job/activity, it is intended to be enforced by the law if the contract is breached. In the advertisement it states that your application can be handed in at the front desk of your Norwich office or sent to the HR of your department HR@liverecruitment.co.uk, furthermore states that if you are successful, you must not apply for other positions of this nature. This does not state that your information will not be shared as there is no confidentiality clause. A confidentiality clause is a clause in the contract of employment that states you will not share private information about your employer to other companies or employers, and in your job advert it does not state that, which makes the job advert unprofessional and non legitimate. However the section below where it states that you must not apply for any other job of this nature incorporates an exclusivity clause that no two production companies conflict with another and market the same brand, which makes the advert come across as more legitimate and professional.

The Equality Act 2010 incorporated previous equality acts of parliament into one single piece of legislation, it includes:
- The Equal Pay Act 1970
- Sex Discrimination Act 1975
- Race Relations Act 1976
- Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- Employment Equality (religion or belief) Regulations 2003
- Employment Equality (sex orientation) Regulations 2003
- Employment Equality (age) Regulations 2006
By incorporating this into one single document made it easier for the public to find out if they had been discriminated against, also made it easier for lawyers and trade unions to find out if the individual has been exploited against for legal cases. Another piece of legislation is the Equal Opportunities, this is where the employers are guided by codes of practice that makes them comply with The Equality Act. There are many areas in how the individual can be discriminated against, for example direct discrimination. This is where the individual is treated differently from the other staff and in a sense the non-favored one due to a protected characteristic they have or are suspected of having. Indirect discrimination is where a practice or certain task applies to everyone equally, however has a unequal/disproportional effect on those who posses a protected characteristic, for example an individual that finds it hard to comply because of their religion or their beliefs. This is also included in your job advert where it states you must have a 'Christian' faith to apply, this is exploiting the Employment Equality Regulations on religion or belief 2003, which is a serious break of the law and could result in a court case if breached. Additionally in the job advert it states that you can be male/female, however you have to be under 30, this is breaching the Employment Equality Regulations on age 2006, by discriminating against someone who is too old to take part in the production, this is also a breach of the law and could result in a court case.
The Employers Liability Act 1969 ensures that the employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees while they are in the working environment, also if an employee falls ill due to working in a certain environment, for this to occur there is insurance to cover any claims. The Employee Rights Act 1996, when an employee begins employment the employer must give them a written statement of what the employment entails, with all health and safety information and when the employee begins and ends, this protects the employee from exploitation from and employer. An example from your job advert is the 'hours' section where it declares the hours to be worked 'between 10-45 per week (variable)' this does not state how many hours the individual will be contracted to because it can vary, therefore violating the Employee Rights Act 1996 by not giving clear information. Additional it is mentioned that the salary is '£15,000 to £35,000' and then states 'It sounds like a broad role because it is!' including the hours, this does not add up to the salary, therefore not being clear to the appliers. Trade unions are there to protect workers rights and ensure that they will back up the individual if exploited or their contract is breached by the employer or even by the individual. An example of a trade union that supports media-related workers is BECTU, Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematography and Theatre Union, you pay a small sum of money each month and that adds up to the protection you could need for legal aid or even hospital aid (if it was the individuals fault). BECTU works for the employee by using the influence to persuade employers to treat and pay their staff fairly, they can stand up for improvements to pay and work conditions of employment, additionally hours, sick pay and job confidentiality.

Codes of practice are not specially part of the law, they are there to protect the individual and are effective when it comes to TV and film, employers are responsible for writing these policies and procedures up that are specific for the individual. Moving on to my next point is the representation your advert creates of a specific ideology and stereotype, evidence to show this is 'You should interview teenagers and other individuals who might be/have been affected by the topic, including female victims and male offenders who will talk candidly to the camera'. This shows the representations of males as being the sexual offenders and the females as always being the victims by creating this ideology that is only showing half of the story and creating an inaccurate story on an issue of such importance. This is misleading the audience and forcing them to think a certain way about the subject, therefore the 'factual' side of this is questionable, this is also relating to social concerns and how the media portrays those in the spotlight. This could also create a moral panic which is a feeling a large group of society expresses against a certain 'type' of person, for example terrorism, there is a highly expressed feeling towards that specific group of people, created by the media and represented to the public in a certain light, arguments and social tension can arise and this is can be damaging for those at the other end of the moral panic spectrum. It is destructive how the media portrays certain parts of society and if this was to be produced it would be harmful to those that are categorized in the 'dangerous' part of society on the basis of how the media has stereotyped them. Creating this fear of males is then emphasized by what a convicted rapist may be dressed like, then another issue occurs of what a rapist 'looks like', how do you believe a code of practice would protect this individual if you are choosing to produce a one sided story, it would be careless to produce material of such importance in a way which manipulates the audience.

There is also legal issues that surround this subject, the regulators exist to enforce the law on broadcasting issues and make sure every broadcast complies with the rules when it comes to the media. The Broadcasting Act 1990 created this and made it law that there must be a regulatory body that enforces this, evidence from the act to back this up is 'It shall be the function of the commission to regulate in accordance with the Broadcasting Act, following television programme services' this is then followed by 'the rules to be observed with respect to the showing of violence or the inclusion of sounds suggestive of violence including licensed services, particularly when large numbers of children or young people may be expected to what this'. In your job advert it states it is a 'short documentary that can be shown to children at a high school promoting the No Means No campaign', and the brief is to document an issue regarding rape which could be documented in an inappropriate way therefore this would be difficult to show a campaign like this to a high school full of under-age pupils. This could be argued as a breach of The Broadcasting Act 1990 for the protection of those under age against exposing footage, in a high school the ages can range from 11-16 which is a large gap to be showing the same footage that could potentially be harmful to those who are younger than the age of consent which is 16. The most commonly known regulatory body is Ofcom, they have a code that applies to protecting the under 18's, an example from the code:

1.1 Material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of people under eighteen must not be broadcast.
This could damage the minds of the underage by painting males in the picture as the only ones who would be involved with an activity as such as this, this could effect not only how they see the males in their life but how they see males in general. 
1.2 In the provision of services, broadcasters must take all reasonable steps to protect people under eighteen. For television services, this is in addition to their obligations resulting from the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (in particular, Article 27, see Appendix 2)
1.3 Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them. 
In the job advert it states you should use re-enactments, this could show inappropriate content and possibly harmful to those under the age of 18, they would have to keep it mild content if they were to show re-enactments because it could show violence and therefore the audience not being protected. The reason for Ofcom to exist is due to the Communications Act 2003 which includes the regulation by which Ofcom can carry out their duties:
Ofcom's powers:
-  The power to undertake research and development work in connection with any matter in relation to which they have functions
- Power to institute and carry out criminal proceedings in England and Wales or Northan Ireland for an offence in relation to which they have functions  
 This gives Ofcom the authority to be regulators and to report and carry through any issues relating to a broadcasting issue in which they have the power to. Additionally the Obscene Publications Act 1959 is the act to provide protection of literature and to strengthen the law concerning pornography, this is another factor to be thought about because the issue the individual is documenting is to do with a sexual act and therefore the 're-enactments' you have to include has to obide by the codes and rules set out by each statue act because that is the law. The BBFC would come into this because of the age limit of young people in a highschool under the age of 18 it would possibly be labeled as PG for some and 15 for others as the high school age ranges from 11-16. Their aims include:
- protect the public, especially children from content that is deemed to be a harmful risk.
- empower the public, especially parents to make informed viewing choices.
- recognize and respect adult freedom of choice in the law. 
Intellectual property applies to the job advert as well, it hedges that you should illegally download music, for example it states 'you should use a popular music soundtrack that will appeal to the target audience' which is young people, so suggest that new music is to be used. It goes on to say at the bottom is smaller text 'you will be recompensed up to the value of £20 for he production of the video' if you were to purchase a new, up to date, chart selling song, it would cost more than £20 and that includes paying the interviewers and location costs, therefore the only way this would be accomplished is through illegally downloading the content. Not only is this against the law for the individual but for the company to encourage this is also illegal, this violates the Copyright Act 1988 that states you cannot reproduce sounds from which are owned by an individual and that you do not have the rights to. 

Yours Sincerely
Alana Taylor  


  1. Alana,

    You have made a solid start here and you have identified key issues within the job advert. You have looked at relevant law and regulator guidance and used this appropriately.

    Can you please:
    -quote from the job advert and law more frequently, e.g., in your advert you say "..." but the X act (1903) states "..."
    - tighten your definition of a confidentiality clause, I think you are confusing it with data protection
    - talk a little bit more about representation and the wider impact it can have on society (moral panics)

    Great start,

  2. Well done Alana - a little fluffy in places but there are some really well-developed points here too.