Gender equality may mean gender discrimination

November 21, 2018 - 3:30 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Is a new California law a step toward gender equality or gender discrimination? 
Depends whom you ask.

Even as California Gov. Jerry Brown was praising Senate Bill 826 and signing it into law, he expressed his concern that it would be overturned by the court. The new law requires that all publicly held companies based in California must have a minimum number of female directors — one female if the board has four or fewer directors, and boards with six or more directors must have at least three female directors. 

While the goal of gender equality may be admirable, the law seems clearly to violate the laws on gender discrimination. How? Because the law on its face favors women — or, put differently, disadvantages men solely on the basis of gender.

That's the definition of sex discrimination. And while private organizations including the NFL have policies like the Rooney Rule that require the interviewing of candidates of a particular minority, those don't require the hiring of candidates based on their status. They couldn't. It would be illegal. 

Let's see if the courts say the same of this law.