Two Netflix employees involved in the Dave Chappelle scandal have filed labor charges against Netflix, alleging that the streaming giant retaliated against their participation in protected activity.
B. Pagels -Minor, a Black trans programme manager, was fired after organizing a walkout in protest against Netflix's support for The Closer (which has been widely condemned by transphobic groups). Terra Field, trans software engineer was suspended for posting a viral tweet about the issue.
Netflix claimed it fired Pagels Minor because she allegedly leaked confidential information. This is a charge that they strongly deny. Netflix claimed that Field was suspended because she attended a meeting at director level that she wasn't allowed to attend, but it reinstated her after determining no ill intention. Field claims that she was invited along with hundreds of other Netflix employees to the meeting.
The employees have now filed unfair labor practice charges against the National Labor Relations Board. They claim that Netflix's actions were intended to prevent workers from speaking out about their working conditions.
This isn't about Terra and B., it's about Dave. Attorney Laurie Burgess says it's about changing the culture and making an impact on others. It's all about collective action. It's about supporting your coworkers, and standing up for what you care about.
The goal of collective action is supported by filing with the NLRB. It is also easier than filing in state courts. Both Pagels-Minor, and Field, signed Netflix employment agreements that required them to resolve disputes through private arbitration. This process tends to favor employers. This is a common practice at large tech companies. However, Activision Blizzard and Google have recently stopped forcing arbitration because of employee organizing.
All charges received by the NLRB are investigated. If the allegations are credible, the NLRB can seek a settlement. If that fails, it can issue a complaint. The best case scenario for employees is to get reinstated with backpay, and Netflix to put up a notice that workers can engage in protected activities.
Netflix stated that Pagels-Minor was behind a Bloomberg story containing internal metrics on how much Netflix paid for The Closer. The story spread quickly in the media, but employees who spoke with The Verge denied that it was true. Bloomberg published stories that contained internal metrics about Netflix shows even after Pagels-Minor had been fired.
B. is about to lose their insurance. She is currently 35 weeks pregnant. In spite of all the stress, they stated that they are trying to focus on their health and take each day as it comes. High-risk pregnancies require me to be cautious. We don't know our health insurance status and will be admitted to hospital with our baby in 30 days.
Field applied for Netflix medical leave. Field has been threatened with death and subject to sex attacks since speaking out. In an interview with The Verge, she said that trans people are tolerated as long they keep quiet. But if they speak out, they get harassed. Although it has been very stressful these past weeks, I will continue fighting for my community.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix's co-CEO, is standing by the special. However he has retracted previous claims that Netflix content doesn't directly cause real-world harm.
Verge earlier this week found that Netflix had suppressed search results in 2020 after Cuties controversy to quell public outrage. The Closer was not subject to the same suppression.
Before the walkout on October 20, 2018, the trans employee resource group published a list of demands. They demand that Netflix invest in trans creators, and improve internal processes for commissioning potentially dangerous content.