BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1001
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 13, 2009

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                Kevin De Leon, Chair

                   AB 1001 (Skinner) - As Amended:  April 14, 2009 

          Policy Committee:                              Labor and  
          Employment   Vote:                            7-3

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:              

           SUMMARY  

          This bill adds "familial status" to the list of characteristics  
          on which basis a person may not be discriminated against in  
          employment. The bill also:

          1)Defines familial status to mean having or providing care for  
            any of the following: a child, a parent, a spouse or domestic  
            partner, a parent-in-law, a sibling, a grandparent, or a  
            grandchild.

          2)Provides that nothing in this bill relating to discrimination  
            on account of familial status shall affect the right of an  
            employer to regulate, for reasons of supervision, safety,  
            security, or morale, the working of spouses in the same  
            department, division, or facility, consistent with the rules  
            and regulations adopted by the commission.

          3)Provides that the bill does not prohibit health plans from  
            providing additional or greater benefits to employees with  
            dependents than to those employees without or with fewer  
            dependents.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          The Department of Fair Employment and Housing is responsible for  
          enforcing provisions of the FEHA through investigations of  
          complaints, administrative hearings, and court actions. The  
          department does not yet have a fiscal estimate for this bill.  
          However, last session it estimated that expanded enforcement  
          associated with a similar measure would result in annual costs  
          of $740,000 to handle the increased volume of complaints.








                                                                  AB 1001
                                                                  Page  2


           COMMENTS  

           1)Background  . The California FEHA and Unruh Civil Rights Act  
            protect individuals against discrimination in employment,  
            housing, public accommodation, and business services based on  
            specified personal characteristics. These include sex, race,  
            color, national origin, marital status, religion, sexual  
            orientation, age, and disability. 

          The  housing  provisions of FEHA also prohibit discrimination  
            based on "familial status," which is defined for this purpose  
            as a parent or legal guardian having one or more individual  
            under 18 years of age residing with him or her. This bill adds  
            familial status to the list of protected classes with respect  
            to  employment  discrimination. For purposes of the employment  
            sections of FEHA, familial status refers to an employee's  
            responsibility for care or support of a family member.
           
           2)Rationale  . Supporters of this bill (including numerous  
            employee representatives) assert that existing law does not  
            adequately safeguard large numbers of California employees who  
            experience workplace discrimination based on the need to care  
            for children and other family members.  The bill is intended  
            to address this gap by including "familial status" on the list  
            of characteristics that, if used as the basis for  
            discrimination, is prohibited under the state's Fair  
            Employment and Housing Act.  
           
          3)Opponents  (including the California Chamber of Commerce)  
            assert that the bill "unnecessarily creates a vague and  
            expansive new basis for liability under the Fair Employment  
            and Housing Act."
           
          4)Previous legislation  . This bill is similar, but narrower, than  
            SB 836 (Kuehl) from the 2007-08 session. That measure was  
            vetoed by the governor, who stated in his veto message that  
            that the bill would result in endless litigation and would  
            unnecessarily restrict employers' ability to make personnel  
            decisions. 

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Brad Williams / APPR. / (916) 319-2081