BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 2900
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 21, 2004

                                 Paul Koretz, Chair
                     AB 2900 (Laird) - As Amended:  April 1, 2004
          SUBJECT  :  Employment discrimination.

           SUMMARY  :  Amends various provisions of current law prohibiting  
          discrimination in employment on different bases, to instead  
          prohibit discrimination on the same bases as in the Fair  
          Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). 

          EXISTING LAW  

          1)Prohibits, under various provisions of state law,  
            discrimination in employment on different bases, including,  
            but not limited to, the race, color, sex, religion, and  
            marital status of a person. 

          2)Prohibits, under FEHA, discrimination in employment on the  
            basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin,  
            ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical  
            condition, marital status, sex, age, or sexual orientation. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

          Under FEHA, commencing with Government Code  12900, employers  
          are prohibited from discrimination in all aspects of employment  
          including hiring, termination and terms and conditions.  The  
          prohibited bases of discrimination are race, religious creed,  
          color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental  
          disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, and  
          sexual orientation.  These bases, and individuals who identify  
          with these bases, are also referred to as "protected classes".  

          There are, however, various other sections of state law relating  
          to labor and employment, located in various codes, that prohibit  
          discrimination against different and varying protected classes.   
          For instance, the provision in state law prohibiting  
          discrimination against physicians in medical staff membership  
          and clinical privileges with hospitals that contract with the  
          Medi-Cal program only covers "sex, race, creed and national  


                                                                  AB 2900
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          origin" (Welfare and Institutions Code  11322.62).  The FEHA  
          list of protected classes is more expansive.

          The author introduced this bill to provide a single legal  
          standard in order to remedy what is argued as a lack of  
          protection for many Californians and the confusion that exists  
          for implementation and compliance with statutes prohibiting  
          discrimination. This bill eliminates, in specified sections of  
          law, the current list of protected classes and instead applies  
          the FEHA standard, in terms of both the list of prohibited bases  
          of discrimination, as they appear in Government Code  12940,  
          and the definition of those bases, as they appear in Government  
          Code  12926 and  12926.1.  The sections affected by this bill  
          appear in the following Codes;  Labor, Education, Government,  
          Military and Veterans, Public Utilities, Unemployment Insurance,  
          and Welfare and Institutions.  

          This bill is sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and argues  
          that by referencing the protected classes in FEHA in other labor  
          related statutes, state law will have a consistent  
          non-discrimination statutory scheme and one of the most  
          comprehensive civil rights protections of any state in the  
          country.  EQCA also writes that "Lesbian, gay bisexual, and  
          transgender workers deserve to know that they are equally  
          protected, and employers deserve to have one standard by which  
          to treat all of their workers."  The bulk of support for this  
          bill comes from various civil rights related organizations.


          American Civil Liberties Union
          California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
          California State Conference of the National Association for the
            Advancement of the Colored People 
          Congress for California Seniors
          Equality California, (sponsor)
          Metropolitan Community Church Los Angeles
          Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
          National Center for Lesbian Rights
          Our Family Coalition
          Pride At Work, Southern California
          Protection & Advocacy, Inc.
          Transgender Law Center


                                                                  AB 2900
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          Responsible Citizens, Inc.
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Nick Louizos / L. & E. / (916) 319-2091