June 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 169

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California's Racial/Ethnic Quota Bill Is Amended To Expand Definition Of "Underrepresented Communities"

Earlier this month, I noted a California bill that would require publicly held corporations have a minimum number of "directors from underrepresented communities".  The bill, AB 979 (Holden), originally defined "directors from underrepresented communities" to mean an individual who self identifies as African-American, Hispanic or Native American.  Earlier this week, the author amended the bill to include individuals who identify as Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native.   

Like the proposed federal Improving Corporate Diversity Through Diversity Act of 2019, AB 979 relies upon self-identification.  Thus, it raises many similar questions.  For example, is it enough that the individual sincerely believes that he or she is a member of one of the listed groups or must some factual basis exist for the self-identification?  Would Rachel Dolezal's self-identification as black be respected?  If facts are required, what facts must be shown to substantiate an individual's self-identification?  Still another question is how are these communities to be defined.  Does an individual with roots in Georgia, Armenia or Azerbaijan qualify as an Asian?  Could the late Justice Benjamin Cardozo self identify as Hispanic under AB 979?

© 2010-2021 Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP National Law Review, Volume X, Number 212
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About this Author

Keith Paul Bishop, Corporate Transactions Lawyer, finance securities attorney, Allen Matkins Law Firm
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Keith Bishop works with privately held and publicly traded companies on federal and state corporate and securities transactions, compliance, and governance matters. He is highly-regarded for his in-depth knowledge of the distinctive corporate and regulatory requirements faced by corporations in the state of California.

While many law firms have a great deal of expertise in federal or Delaware corporate law, Keith’s specific focus on California corporate and securities law is uncommon. A former California state regulator of securities and financial institutions, Keith has decades of...

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