Friday, November 6, 2009

Live in California, unemployed, need a discount?

Responding to a very tough economic climate, many California businesses began offering discounts to state employees who had their salaries reduced when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger instituted reduced workweeks back in February of this year.

Several creative offers quickly sprung up: discounted museum admission; ten percent off on “Furlough Fridays” at various restaurants; and discounted resort passes.

Sensing some unfairness toward the private workforce, a San Diego area attorney sent demand letters in July threatening litigation against Sacramento area businesses. These letters claimed that providing discounts to state employees who have suffered reductions in employment is a violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. The attorney demanded statutory and actual damages as well as payment of his attorney fees.

Well, the California legislature responded in kind, passing a bill (S.B. 367) clarifying current law, and establishing that it is not a violation of the Act for a business to provide discounts to groups of people who have suffered a loss or reduction in employment. “Businesses should be able to confer these types of benefits without the fear of provoking litigation,” said Senator Negrete McLeod, the bill’s chief author.

On November 2, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law. An odd law, but one worthy of note.

No comments:

Post a Comment