The production company behind ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ is being accused of allowing drug use on set, after an ex-employee claims he was let go for reporting the situation.
According to new legal documents, obtained by The Blast, the ex-employee is suing the production company for wrongful termination and labor code violations in Los Angeles County Courts, after he was let go during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brian Ballard, a set dresser, claims he was hired in 2005 for a j0b that required set decoration, acting as a stagehand, and helping pick up furniture.
Ballard claims in January and March of 2020, he complained to the production manager about concerns over safety with another employee who “was under the influence of drugs on the job.” At the time, the set dresser says that his direct supervisor told him it wasn’t their responsibility to handle the person’s “drug usage” — but not to worry the situation would be handled.
Ex-Employee Claims ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ Supervisors Allowed Drug Use On Set
Brian alleges he reported the “unsafe and possibly illegal conduct” to another supervisor — the set decorator — who advised him to “handle it yourself.”
The ex-employee claims the show “failed to follow the FDA guidelines regarding labeling, testing, and reporting requirements, in regards to the drug use.
In March of 2020, the ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ show ceased operating from its studio on Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. At the time, the lawsuit says many members of the production team were “laid off.” But, in January of 2021, Ballard says “most if not all of the members of the production crew were notified that they were re-hired and returned to work on the show.”
Set Dresser Alleges He Was ‘Terminated’ After Reporting Drug Use To ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ Staff
The employee accused of drug use was reportedly one of the people brought back to the production company, according to the lawsuit. Unfortunately, Ballard says he was NOT asked to return for his job as a set dresser. Now, he believes the reason for his dismissal after 15 years of employment, was “substantially done in retaliation for [him] having complained about illegal conduct by [the other employee] and the unsafe working conditions which resulted from [him] working under the influence of drugs on the set.
In the end, Ballard says he thinks the company thought he might continue to “complain about such issues in the future.”
The set dresser is suing 12:05 AM Productions for several violations of the labor code, including one which prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for reporting something that should be investigated by the company. Again, he believes the “decision to terminate his employment was because he complained to agents, servants, and managers of his employer regarding unsafe working conditions.” Adding, “These unsafe working conditions were precipitated by the [the show] allowing [the other employees] to work on the set with other employees while under the influence of drugs and incapable of safely performing his job.
Ex-Employee Is Suing ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ For Undisclosed Amount
Ballard claims he is suffering from emotional distress, humiliation, mental anguish, and embarrassment as well as the manifestation of physical symptoms.
‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ and its production company has yet to respond to the lawsuit.