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CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE WARNS DRY CLEANERS ABOUT GENDER BIAS
 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2004
Contact:
 Adam Radinsky, Deputy City Attorney, (310) 458-88327


The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office today sent letters to all 51 laundry and dry cleaning businesses in the city to advise them about consumer laws protecting women from unfair pricing. 

Under California and local law, it is illegal for any business to charge a different price for goods or services based on a customer’s gender. Different prices may be charged only when there is a legitimate difference in the time, difficulty or cost of providing the goods or services.

In addition, under California law, all retail dry cleaners and laundries must do the following:

  • Post a price list for their 15 most frequently requested services. The list must be posted in a conspicuous area and printed in at least 14-point boldface type.

  • Post a notice in a conspicuous place in at least 24-point boldface type that says:

  • CALIFORNIA LAW PROHIBITS ANY BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT FROM DISCRIMINATING, WITH RESPECT TO THE PRICE CHARGED FOR SERVICES OF SIMILAR OR LIKE KIND, AGAINST A PERSON BECAUSE OF THE PERSON'S GENDER.  A COMPLETE PRICE LIST IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

  • Provide customers with a complete written price list upon request.

Businesses which charge higher prices to one gender, are liable to the customer for punitive damages of a least $4,000.00, plus attorneys’ fees. They also are subject to criminal prosecution with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500.00 fine. (Calif. Civil Code §§51.6, 52(a); SMMC §§4.32.170-172.)

Businesses which violate the price posting rules and who fail to correct violations within 30 days of receiving written notice, are liable for a civil penalty of $1,000.00.

The City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit will conduct a follow-up investigation later this year to assure that local businesses are following the law.

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This page was last updated on 02/28/11.