Calif. law will force corporate boardrooms to appoint gays, lesbians, racial minorities

Gov. Gavin Newsom, photo via Newsom’s Facebook page.

Every company in California is now required by law to put a member of an “underrepresented community” on its board, even if it means denying the position to an equally or more qualified white heterosexual male who doesn’t think he’s a woman.

More than 660 California-based corporations will have to comply and place racial or sexual minorities on their boards by the end of 2021 under a first-in-the-nation bill signed on Sept. 30 by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The new quota legislation resembles a 2018 measure that forced boardrooms to have at least one female director by 2019. Like that measure, it is likely to be challenged in court as the discriminatory quota it is.

According to FOX Business, Supporters evoked both the COVID-19 pandemic that is disproportionately affecting minorities and violent calls for “justice” that followed the death of George Floyd in police custody in May, although it is far from clear how minorities on company boards will affect either of those things.

“The new law represents a big step forward for racial equity,” said Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), who co-authored the bill. “While some corporations were already leading the way to combat implicit bias, now, all of California’s corporate boards will better reflect the diversity of our state.”

Those who qualify would self-identify as Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native, or as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The measure requires at least two such directors by the end of 2022 on boards with four to nine directors. Three directors are required for boards with nine or more directors. Firms that don’t comply would face fines of $100,00 for first violations and $300,000 for repeated violations.


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