The City of Glendale, California had an ordinance that prohibited anyone in a public thoroughfare such as a sidewalk from soliciting employment, business, or contributions from passers-by. Anti-solicitation ordinances such as the law in Glendale are seldom enforced — but when they are, they are often used to target day laborers who seek employment while standing in public areas in accordance with their First Amendment free speech rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
After a period of aggressive, selective enforcement by the Glendale Police of the anti-solicitation ordinance against day laborers, MALDEF and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of day laborers who regularly seek work in the City of Glendale. The lawsuit challenged Glendale’s anti-solicitation ordinance on the grounds that it was an unconstitutional restriction on the First Amendment free speech rights of day laborers and other individuals who wish to seek employment in public fora in the City of Glendale.
MALDEF was victorious both in and out of court. After the case was filed, City of Glendale officials commenced talks with day laborers, which resulted in reforms at the City day laborer hiring site. Additionally, on May 13, 2005, U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero issued a permanent injunction against the ordinance, which prevents the City from enforcing its anti-solicitation ordinances in perpetuity.
The City of Glendale filed a Notice of Appeal with the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit in June 2005. However, the parties engaged in successful mediation prior through the Ninth Circuit’s mediation program, and the City agreed to amend its ordinance so that it was no longer constitutionally suspect. As a result, the Glendale City Council adopted the Amended Ordinance and on August 19, 2008, the parties filed a stipulation with the Court requesting dismissal of the appeal. On August 20, 2008, the Court issued an Order dismissing the appeal with prejudice, thus ending the litigation.