California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards

California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards title=
California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards
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Sen. Jackson and Gov. Brown a signing ceremony for equal pay legislation in 2015 (Photo: Office of Sen. Jackson)

By edhat staff

A conservative activist group filed a lawsuit against the State of California on Friday over the recent requirement for women on corporate boards.

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson authored SB-826 with Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins of San Diego as a first-in-the-nation law. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill last year which requires every publicly held corporation in California to have a minimum of one woman on its board of directors by the end of 2019; two or more by 2021 for boards of five; and three women by 2021 for boards of six or more. Companies that don’t comply will be fined $100,000 for their first violation.

Judicial Watch, a Washington-based conservative activist group, said in a lawsuit filed this week on behalf of three California taxpayers that spending taxpayer money enforcing the law is illegal under the California constitution. The lawsuit cited equal-protection grounds and Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated, "California's gender quota law is brazenly unconstitutional." 

“While I certainly respect the constitutional right of anyone to challenge the law in our courts, it is disappointing that this conservative right wing group is more invested in spending thousands of dollars on a questionable lawsuit than supporting policy that improves business’ profits and boosts our economy. While the courts consider this challenge, many companies have already voluntarily complied. Just last month, the last all-male board of the S&P 500 added a woman to its ranks, showing that diversity is within our grasp and that women are highly qualified and eager to step up, “ said Jackson.

“This lawsuit is merely an effort by a conservative ‘foundation’ to try to erode the landmark progress our state is making not only for women, but for business and our economy. I’m confident the courts will see through this thinly veiled attempt to block highly qualified women from serving on the boards of our publicly traded corporations. More women in those positions makes sense for profitability and it makes sense for equality,” said Atkins.

Mercury News reports most well-known tech companies are in compliance with only a handful of the top 150 Silicon Valley companies needing to add a woman to their board of directors.

A number of studies, including one by Credit Suisse, show a strong correlation between women on boards and company and stock performance. A 2017 study by Morgan Stanley Capital International found that United States’ companies that began the five-year period from 2011 to 2016 with three or more female directors reported earnings per share that were 45 percent higher than those companies with no female directors at the beginning of the period.

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a-1574102049 Aug 11, 2019 09:10 AM
California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards

Ironically, 04/23/18- Senate Judiciary Committee analysis produced eight pages of existing affirmative action law already benefitting women in the California workplace. Also ironic is how many bills Sen. Atkins and her Democrat Caucus members have passed attempting to blur the differences between women and men. Sen. Toni Atkins is the author of a gender neutrality bill allowing Californians to change the gender on the California drivers license and birth certificate, and created a third gender marker on state-issued identification documents for people who identify as nonbinary or intersex. If gender is “neutral,” why mandate more women on boards?

PitMix Aug 12, 2019 08:44 AM
California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards

Could you explain more about how this attempt by a leading feminist to level the playing field is offensive to you? Is it because you would rather wait another 100 yrs for things to become fairer for you (really for your great grand-daughter)? If so, I respect your patience and appreciate you keeping more slots open for me..

a-1574102049 Aug 10, 2019 09:06 AM
California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards

Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of three California taxpayers to prevent the State from implementing Senate Bill 826. The 2018 law requires publicly-held corporations headquartered in California to have at least one director “who self-identifies her gender as a woman” on their boards by December 31, 2019 (Robin Crest et al. v. Alex Padilla (No.19ST-CV-27561)).Up to three such persons are required by December 31, 2021, depending on the size of the board. The lawsuit alleges that the mandate is an unconstitutional gender-based quota.

a-1574102049 Aug 09, 2019 06:52 PM
California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards

This law has to be a nightmare to all capable and competent women. Can these women only make it to the board when it is mandated "by law?" Puhhhh-leeeeease!!! Mrs. Cleaver had it made. I would rather be doing what she was doing rather than worrying about my baby while regression testing the latest software release ....which is now delayed by two weeks in the middle of our planned vacation to Tres Pinos.

SantaBarbaraObserver Aug 09, 2019 03:39 PM
California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards

Dumb law by a woman who has never held a commercial job or owned and / or operated a business. I wish she would focus on fixing the broken public union retirement system or the abysmal waste in our own county instead of injecting her POV into everyone's lives. She thinks she is your overlord, not your representative.

a-1574102049 Aug 09, 2019 03:23 PM
California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards

Get over it, Judicial Watch. It's going to be 2020 soon enough & things have changed since the 1950s. Yes, even the racial makeup of our country has changed along with women in society. It's not the June Cleaver syndrome anymore. Sorry, but times have changed.

RHS Aug 10, 2019 02:00 PM
California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards

While I almost certainly agree with the rationale of this sort of law I resent the idea that the lack of women on boards is part of "June Cleaver syndrome." I wonder if the author of that rhetoric actually was an adult in the 1950's. I was close to it. I l never thought "Leave it to Beaver" represented the world I lived in. To look at it as some sort of documentary evidence about that time period is just sloppy. In the 1950's I knew women and men of my social class worked 40 hour weeks in jobs that were paid by the hour. It seemed to me that the choice of working or not was not made by the man for the woman but by economic circumstances and opportunity. I never heard one adult male object to women working because they were thought incompetent to do so.

Sam The Dog Aug 09, 2019 04:47 PM
California Sued Over Sen. Jackson's Law Requiring Women on Corporate Boards

I agree with you but if we're truly to move forward race, sex, religion, etc. simply shouldn't be part of the equation. It shouldn't matter. Though I think Judicial Watch is right about the laws unconstitutionality, maybe if the State made all boards require at least one woman AND one man, which is what the study referenced cites and what increased profitability (diversity), this would be a constitutionally acceptable. But our career political leaders, that people for some reason keep electing, are more interested in pushing feel good legislation and finger pointing that trying to make meaningful, effective, bipartisan reforms.

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