/Blue State Gender Equity Law Struck Down in Court
California Governor Gavin Newsom via Wikimedia Commons

Blue State Gender Equity Law Struck Down in Court

California judge has ruled that the state’s 2018 law mandating that companies name at least one person who self-identifies as a woman to a seat on the corporate board violates the state constitution’s equal protection clause.

Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis issued the ruling Friday following a legal challenge from the conservative legal group Judicial Watch. Then-Gov. Jerry Brown, D, said when he signed the law that he did so to send a message during the #MeToo movement, despite acknowledging that the measure was on shaky legal grounds.

The law had required corporations to have one female – which, according to the bill’s text, means “an individual who self-identifies her gender as a woman, without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth” – on their boards of directors by the end of 2019. By January 2022, boards with five directors had to have two women and boards with six or more members were required to have three women.

Under the Women on Boards law, S.B. 826, companies that failed to report board compositions to California’s secretary of state could face fines of up to $100,000, while multiple failures to disclose the number of female board members could cost companies a $300,000 fine.

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