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Bryant Whitten, LLP

TV actress suing employer for alleged sexual harassment

A former background actress on the CBS show "The Mentalist," filed suit on Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Warner Bros. Television Group, its casting agency and a co-worker. She alleges claims of sexual harassment, retaliation and failure to take remedial action.

The woman has been a stand-in and a background actress on the police procedural show since it first aired in 2008. She has also been an employee of the show's background casting agency since 2001.

The woman claims that her co-worker behaved inappropriately toward her on a daily basis. The co-worker allegedly made sexually charged comments that the woman found inappropriate and made her uncomfortable. The woman also claimed that her co-worker physically harassed her. He would catch the actress off guard and grope her before she could push him away, she says.

In October, the actress complained to superiors, who told her that she was correct in coming forward. However, almost immediately after complaining, the woman's work on the show declined from five days a week to an average of two days a week, and she says she started being shunned by other actors.

The woman met with an attorney for Warner Bros. The attorney told her that the complaints had been investigated and the matter was closed. By late spring, however, the woman says she stopped receiving calls to work on "The Mentalist" and the casting agency stopped offering her any other work. The actress alleges that her employment with the casting service and Warner Bros. had been effectively been terminated.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Shanelle Howard, 'The Mentalist' Actress, Sues Warner Bros. For Alleged Sexual Harassment," Aug. 20, 2012

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