On February 18, Assembly members Evan Low and Cristina Garcia introduced Assembly Bill 1084 to require gender neutral retail departments. The bill would add Part 2.57 (commencing with Section 55.7) to Division 1 of the Civil Code.
Section One of the bill would add Part 2.57, which would be titled “Gender Neutral Retail Departments.” The bill would specify legislative findings and declarations that there are unjustified differences in similar products that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys can be more easily identified by the consumer if similar items are displayed closer to one another in one, undivided area of the retail sales floor. In addition, keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.
The bill would specify that a retail department store that offers childcare items for sale is required to maintain one undivided area of its sales floor where the majority of the childcare items being offered shall be displayed, regardless of whether a particular childcare item has been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys. In addition, a retail department store that offers children’s clothing for sale, as well as toys for sale, would be required to maintain one undivided area of its sales floor where the majority of the children’s clothing being offered shall be displayed, regardless of whether a particular article of children’s clothing has been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys. The bill defines the terms “childcare item,” “clothing,” and “toy.”
AB 1084 would also specify that it is not to be construed to constrain how a retailer promotes, displays, or presents a particular item within each undivided area of its sales floor where either childcare items, children’s clothing, or toys are being offered for sale. However, no signage is allowed to be used within any undivided area where either childcare items, children’s clothing, or toys are offered for sale indicating the items are for either girls or for boys.
In addition, a retail department store located in California that maintains an internet website through which it sells childcare items, children’s clothing, toys, or anything that could be considered a combination thereof, is required to dedicate a section of the internet website to the sale of those items and articles that must be titled, at the discretion of the retailer, “kids”, “unisex”, or “gender neutral”.
This proposed law would only apply to retail department stores with 500 or more employees. Beginning on January 1, 2024, a retail department store that fails to correct a violation of this law within 30 days of receiving written notice of the violation from the Attorney General is liable for a civil penalty of $1,000 which may be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General in any court of competent jurisdiction.
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