California enacted the Small Business Gender Discrimination in Services Compliance Act (Assembly Bill Number 1615) at the end of July, which expands existing law regarding prohibition on gender-based pricing discrimination.
The existing law prohibits a business from discriminating on the basis of a person’s gender with respect to the price charged for services of similar or like kind. However, a business may charge different prices based specifically upon the amount of time, difficulty, or cost of providing the service. Specified business, including tailors, barbers and hair salons, and dry cleaners and laundries providing services to individuals, are required to:
- Post a price list in an area conspicuous to customers in at least 14-point boldface font, and
- Display a visible sign with information pertaining to the prohibition on gender-based pricing discrimination.
The new Small Business Gender Discrimination in Services Compliance Act reinforces these requirements by requiring that notice of such violations be provided to a business either prior to or in conjunction with filing a lawsuit against the business for gender discrimination. Once a business receives a notice, it has 30 days to correct the violation. Failing to correct the violation may result in a penalty of $1,000.
The grace period for correcting violations does not apply to lawsuits for discriminatory pricing violations, so tailors, barbers and hair salons, and dry cleaners and laundries should implement and enforce such nondiscriminatory pricing schedules to avoid liability.