Many people are aware of the “glass ceiling” that women in California have faced throughout the years. This basically means that while women have technically always had the same opportunities in the workplace as men, in reality women received much fewer job opportunities especially at the higher levels of the business.

While this was common process, it is still illegal and a form of gender discrimination. However, it is also difficult to prove these types of cases.

That is why California recently enacted a new law to give women more opportunities to be on the board of directors at publically traded corporations. The law requires these corporations to have at least one woman on their board by the end of 2019. It further requires the corporations to have at least three women on boards of at least six people, at least two women on boards of at least five people and one for boards with four people by the end of 2021.

The Secretary will also publish which companies are in compliance with the law. There are also significant penalties for corporations which do not comply. For a first time offense, the corporation could face a fine of $100,000 and a $300,000 for subsequent violations.

While this is a way to ensure more women have opportunities at the top levels of corporations, many qualified women still struggle to move up at lower levels. These women may also have claims for gender discrimination if the decision is made because they are women and not because of legitimate business reasons.

It is important that women have the same opportunities at all levels. Those that do not could be entitled to compensation based on the opportunities they lost. Experienced attorneys understand this complex area of law and could be a useful resource.