SB 600 Bars Business Establishments from Discriminating Based on Citizenship, Language, or Immigration Status

SACRAMENTO, CA — Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 600, a bill authored by Senator Richard Pan, barring discrimination based on citizenship, language, or immigration status. MALDEF initiated and sponsored the legislation, and thanks Gov. Brown for signing it into law. The law clarifies the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and provides clear notice to business proprietors that they cannot discriminate in public accommodations.

“Amidst an increasingly poisoned national political atmosphere around immigration issues, this new law makes clear that California business owners and their employees may not act out any political views by discriminating against immigrant customers,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. “We thank the governor and Senator Pan for their leadership in working to make California a model of inclusion and immigrant integration.”

The Unruh Civil Rights Act already ensures that “all persons within the jurisdiction of [California] are entitled to full and equal accommodation in all business establishments regardless of their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation.” The new law extends the same protections to the California immigrants who make significant contributions to California’s economy every day.

The text of SB 600 is available here. MALDEF’s letter to the Governor supporting SB 600 is available here.