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Small Business Gender Discrimination in Services

Notice requires the claim against the business, legal obligations and rights

By Chris Micheli, July 25, 2022 6:38 am

California has a number of formal acts in statute. Civil Code Division 1, Part 2.55 provides the Small Business Gender Discrimination in Services Compliance Act, which is contained in Sections 55.61 to 55.63. Part 2.55 was added in 2017 by Chapter 156. Section 55.61 names the Act.

Section 55.62 provides definitions for the following terms: “gender discrimination in pricing services claim”; “demand letter.” An attorney is required to provide specified items with each demand letter or complaint sent to or served upon a defendant or potential defendant alleging gender discrimination in pricing services.

In addition, the Judicial Council was required to adopt a written advisory notice that must be used by a plaintiff’s attorney to comply with the requirements of this law. The advisory notice must be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean, and include a statement that the advisory notice is available in additional languages.

The advisory notice is required to state certain information, including the claim against the business, legal obligations and rights, as well as additional things that the business should know, as well as the business’ right to have 30 days to correct the violation. This section does not apply to an action brought by the Attorney General or any district attorney, city attorney, or county counsel.

Section 55.63 requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to develop a pamphlet or other informational materials for use by specified business establishments, including tailors and businesses providing aftermarket clothing alterations; barbers and hair salons; and dry cleaners and laundries providing services to individuals.

The pamphlet must explain the business’ rights and obligations in clear and concise language that the business is prohibited from charging different prices for services of similar or like kind based on the customer’s gender, unless the price difference is based upon the amount of time, difficulty, or cost of providing the services and that the business shall disclose a price list and sign in the manner prescribed.

The pamphlet also has to explain that a business has 30 days to correct any violation of the posting requirements and that a business that fails to correct within 30 days of receiving notice of the violation is liable for a civil penalty of $1,000. The department may include any other information that would help the business comply with the law.

This pamphlet has to be provided at the time that the business establishment applies for or renews a license, at the time of any inspection, or at both times, and it must be provided in six specified languages.

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