Author Topic: How binding is a non-AEA contract?  (Read 290 times)

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JustinJanke

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How binding is a non-AEA contract?
« on: Dec 21, 2018, 01:53 pm »
How binding is a non-equity contract?

Months ago I signed a contract with a theatre company to work on four productions. We are two weeks from closing on our first show, and rehearsals for the second show are about to start. However, I was looking ahead at my last show with them (the biggest one on my contract, the one I am looking forward to the most) and noticed that in our shared google drive, the contact sheet has someone else listed under my title.

I sent the Production Manager an email expressing my concerns several days ago and have heard nothing back.

It could just be some sort of misunderstanding, but nevertheless I do have some concerns that I will be finding myself without a job in a few months. Maybe they double booked the job. Maybe it was a copy/paste scenario and they haven't finished updating the contact sheet. It could be any number of things, but the PM not responding to my inquiries is alarming.

Any advice or thoughts?

Maribeth

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Re: How binding is a non-AEA contract?
« Reply #1 on: Dec 21, 2018, 03:57 pm »
I can't speak to the terms of the contract, but have you tried calling your PM on the phone? Sometimes it's a quicker way to get a response than an email that can be ignored/pushed off until later.

JustinJanke

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Re: How binding is a non-AEA contract?
« Reply #2 on: Dec 21, 2018, 04:46 pm »
I have not called her. I will be seeing her this weekend for a few unrelated things however. I might bring the issue up then.

KMC

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Re: How binding is a non-AEA contract?
« Reply #3 on: Dec 27, 2018, 07:38 am »
Legally speaking a non-AEA contract is just as binding as an AEA contract, however in practice there are two big differences:
1) The language of an AEA contract has been vetted by their attorneys and includes negotiated terms and conditions to protect the employee, and;
2) AEA has more enforcement options and resources should a producing organization breach the contract.  Most organizations [correctly] assume that an individual is unlikely to go to the trouble and expense of legally enforcing the contract through the court system (i.e. sue the employer), whereas AEA contracts likely have defined escalation and dispute resolution steps (with the ultimate option of AEA having the resources to see a dispute through the courts if necessary).

In your specific case it's tough to say precisely what the differences are without seeing the language of the contract.  I think it's a good idea to have a conversation with the production manager when you see her this weekend.  This will hopefully give you an idea if it is a paperwork mistake or something more serious.  If your "spidey senses" tingle at all start to evaluate your options now as opposed to later.  Regardless of the outcome of the conversation, make sure you document it via detailed notes (include who was there, date, location, and pertinent details discussed) in the event you need to pursue legal action in the future. 
« Last Edit: Dec 27, 2018, 07:42 am by KMC »
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