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California: Gov. Gavin Newsom signs law introducing diversity quota in corporate boardrooms among other pro-LGBT laws

The law requires companies to have at least one director from an 'underrepresented community' by 2021 and by 2022, companies with four to nine directors must have two and those with nine or more must have at least 3 in their Board of Directors.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a law that introduces reserved quotas for the LGBT community and racial minority communities in the private sector. The newly signed law makes it mandatory for publicly held companies headquartered in California to have at least one individual from an ‘underrepresented community’ in its Board of Directors.

Gavin Newsom insisted that the law is necessary to ‘promote diversity’ in corporate boardrooms. “When we talk about racial justice, we talk about empowerment, we talk about power, we need to talk about seats at the table,” he said. ‘Underrepresented communities’ include Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native, or gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

While some, such as Judicial Watch, have called the law unconstitutional, others have argued that it is perfectly permissible constitutionally. “I believe that there is a compelling need to enhance diversity on corporate boards,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley School of Law said. “The question is whether a court will find these laws to be sufficiently narrowly tailored. Because there are few other alternatives, I think there is a strong argument that such laws are constitutional.”

The law requires companies to have at least one director from an ‘underrepresented community’ by 2021 and by 2022, companies with four to nine directors must have two and those with nine or more must have at least 3 in their Board of Directors. It is pertinent to note that India with its long history of quota politics has resisted reservations in the private sector. However, private sector quotas have entered USA without any significant resistance at all.

Meanwhile, another law has been signed to mandate that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will “house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex people according to their own sense of where they will be safest. This new law will require CDCR to record the individual’s self-reported gender identity, gender pronouns and honorifics throughout an inmate’s term.” In practical terms, it has the potential to jeopardise the safety and security of women inmates as certain male predators tend to take advantage of such laws. Other laws that were signed include approving the creation of a Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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