May 17, 2022
California Board Gender Diversity Law Ruled Unconstitutional
Last week, Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, found that SB 826, the California law requiring that California-headquartered companies have a minimum number of women directors, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution. The decision states:
As to the claimed interest that S.B. 826 was passed to remedy discrimination, defendant has not met its burden to show that this is necessary nor narrowly tailored. Therefore, for all the above stated reasons and analysis the Court determines that S.B. 826 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution and is thus enjoined.
As noted in this L.A. Times coverage, in her decision, Judge Duffy-Lewis found the state could not prove that the “use of a gender-based classification was necessary to boost California’s economy, improve opportunities for women in the workplace, and protect California taxpayers, public employees, pensions and retirees.” Further, she found that the state could not provide any evidence of a specific corporation that discriminated against any woman and would have been subject to the law.
Last month, Judge Terry A. Green of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, granted plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment in a case challenging the legality of AB 979, which required California-headquartered companies to have a specified minimum number of members on their boards of directors that were from specified underrepresented communities.
– Dave Lynn