SACRAMENTO, CA — The California Chamber of Commerce today added AB 1576 (Levine; D-San Rafael) to its job killer list. AB 1576 (Levine) proposes to significantly amend the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1998 so that businesses could easily be sued for a consumer’s assertion that there was a price difference for substantially similar goods due the gender of the intended user. The bill is on the Assembly Floor.
CalChamber has identified AB 1576 as a job killer because the legislation will create the same type of litigation environment that has plagued the business community with respect to disability access.
Although the recent amendments to the bill provide a limited list of “gender-neutral” reasons a good may be priced differently, proof of those reasons will come up only after litigation has already been filed and costs and attorney’s fees incurred.
“AB 1576 would create a situation where a consumer could go to a separate retailer or even the same retailer daily and purchase multiple items the consumer believes are substantially similar, yet priced differently – with even a penny difference in price– and request the business to settle with the consumer for a minimum of $4,000 or face costly litigation,” said CalChamber Senior Policy Advocate Jennifer Barrera. “While the business may very well be able to prove the price difference was based upon a gender-neutral reason, the cost of litigation to prove that defense is significant.”
CalChamber’s opposition letter states, “This is the exact type of frivolous litigation that businesses across California are struggling with for alleged ADA violations with regard to construction disability access requirements, as it is the exact same section of the Civil Code that covers both issues. California businesses do not need exposure to another layer of such extortionist litigation as AB 1576 will create.”
For the current list of job killer bills, visit http://cajobkillers.com/priorities. CalChamber will continue to identify other job killers as bills are amended or further analysis reveals detrimental impacts of other legislative proposals.