The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Equality California (EQCA), and Transgender Law Center are supporting the introduction of a California bill that prohibits state agencies from doing business with companies that discriminate against their employees based on gender identity, including by denying transgender workers the same benefits and health care coverage they offer all other workers.
Introduced by Senator Mark Leno, Senate Bill 703 builds on existing California law that prohibits employers from discriminating based on gender and gender identity. Sponsored by NCLR, EQCA, and TLC, the bill prohibits a state agency from entering into a contract in the amount of $100,000 or more with any company that discriminates based on gender identity by failing to offer equal benefits to all employees regardless of their gender identity.
“By ensuring that the state contract only with companies that provide equal benefits to their transgender employees, the state of California will save money and help reduce discrimination,” said Geoff Kors, NCLR’s Government Policy Director. “Equal benefits laws for employees with same-sex partners have dramatically expanded the number of employees in same-sex relationships who now receive equal benefits, and this bill will do the same for transgender employees.”
The District of Columbia and eight other states all ban transgender exclusions in health insurance. In addition, both Medicare and Medi-Cal provide coverage to transgender people and more than 25% of Fortune 500 companies offer equal health benefits regardless of gender identity.
SB 703 was introduced on February 27. The bill will be heard this spring in Senate policy committees.