On the final day for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign or veto bills passed by the state Legislature, he has given his stamp of approval to a bill that will require corporations based in California to have women on their board of directors.
SB 826 will force publicly held companies based in California to have at least one woman on their boards of directors by the end of next year. By the end of 2021, companies with boards of five directors must have at least two women, and companies with six-member boards must have at least three women.
Firms failing to comply would face a fine of $100,000 for a first violation and a $300,000 fine for any subsequent violations.
The bill has raised significant opposition and legal questions, with critics saying it would require discrimination against men and may even be unconstitutional.
The California Chamber of Commerce argued that the composition of corporate boards should be determined internally, not mandated by government. The chamber said the new law will prioritize gender over other aspects of diversity, such as race and ethnicity.