The Association of Talent Agents, representing more than 100 talent agencies, will hold a training session for members March 20 to review best practices for the prevention of sex harassment and discrimination.

“The session will explain what constitutes unlawful sexual harassment, obligations under the law, including the California Talent Agencies Act and best practice policies,” the ATA told its members. “Our expert presenters/panelists will walk us through real-life examples and explore common mistakes. ATA’s blended training and educational session is meant to complement, not replace, your company’s policies and programs. We will explore examples of proper responses by talent agents when placed in the position of a ‘first-responder’ to clients that confide in agents.”

The training session, to be held at the SAG-AFTRA Cagney Boardroom, will be chaired by ATA executive director Karen Stuart, a commissioner on the Anita Hill-led Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace; Robert Roginson, an attorney at the Ogletree Deakins law firm who previously served as chief counsel for the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement; and Keith McNutt, director of the western region of the Actors Fund.

Presenters include attorney Laura Heckathorn, also of Ogletree Deakins, whose practice includes all aspects of employment law with a focus on sexual harassment litigation, training, prevention and best practices for employers; and Lillian Gallina, the eastern supervisor of the Actors Fund’s entertainment assistance program, who’s developed and led workshops and training on responding to sexual harassment.

Stuart told her members a month ago that “The ATA board believes we can play a unique and important role by offering a blended educational/training program designed to meet our members’ day-to-day needs. The fact is, talent agents can find themselves in the position of ‘first responders’ when a client makes a complaint about sexual harassment. And when the complaint concerns someone other than an employee of their agency, they may not know how to respond appropriately. With this in mind, ATA has reached out to our industry partners and, with their help, is creating an ATA group member training session, along with a best-practice framework to which our members can refer when faced with these kinds of situations.”