You are here

Must historical society eliminate horrible acting?

Your Legal Questions Answered

Must historical society eliminate horrible acting?

Our local Historical Society puts on a play every year. The acting is horrible. Despite this, the director and actors are paid. As a 501(c)(3) aren't they required to post the jobs and interview the Director and Assistant Director? The Assistant Director has no training and his only experience is acting in these disasters. I not only have a college degree in drama but also a resume as director and drama teacher. Shouldn't the jobs be posted and the board hire the one with the training and resume?

There is nothing in 501(c)(3) law that requires an organization to seek the most qualified people for its activities, and the Internal Revenue Service makes no attempt to evaluate the quality of acting in local theater groups.   The Society has the right to pay for services, even bad services, so long as the compensation is reasonable. Under IRS theory on public charities, as long as the organization is pursuing its exempt purpose, it will retain its exempt status.  The market place of donors and ticket purchasers will determine whether it continues to survive.  Some people might actually like the play even if you know it isn’t very good.

You have no more right to be hired by this Society than by a Broadway production company.  If the Society has enough employees to be covered by employment discrimination laws and you think you are being discriminated against as a member of a protected class, you may have a legal claim.  But discrimination against you because you are competent isn’t illegal.  They have a right to be horrible.  And you have a right not to watch.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Add new comment

Sign-up for our weekly Q&A; get a free report on electioneering