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HomeUSCalifornia law requires gender-neutral toy displays in children's sections in retail stores...

California law requires gender-neutral toy displays in children’s sections in retail stores or face stiff penalties

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Photo by Ivan Chacon

Retail establishments in California that employ more than 500 people face fines if they fail to set aside a gender-neutral area for toys. Retailers would be fined under a new California regulation if their toy sections weren’t gender-neutral.

The goal of the new rule is to do away with the division of toys that are often sold for boys and girls.

Retailers will have to keep a part or area that is gender-neutral and name it in a way that does not favor one gender over another. The store’s gender-neutral toy department must have a respectable assortment of toys.

The rule claims that keeping traditionally advertised goods for boys and girls apart makes it harder for consumers to compare products and falsely suggests that using them by one gender is improper.

SECTION 1. Part 2.57 (commencing with Section 55.7) is added to Division 1 of the Civil Code, to read:

PART 2.57. Gender Neutral Retail Departments

55.7. The Legislature finds and declares both of the following:

(a) Unjustified differences in similar products that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys can be more easily identified by the consumer if similar items are displayed closer to one another in one, undivided area of the retail sales floor.

(b) Keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.

55.8.

(a) A retail department store that offers childcare items or toys for sale shall maintain a gender-neutral section or area, to be labeled at the discretion of the retailer, in which a reasonable selection of the items and toys for children that it sells shall be displayed, regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or boys.

(b) This section shall apply only to retail department stores that are physically located in California that have a total of 500 or more employees across all California retail department store locations. This section shall not apply to retail department stores that are physically located outside California.

(c) Beginning on January 1, 2024, a retail department store that fails to comply with this section is liable for a civil penalty, not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for a first violation or five hundred dollars ($500) for a subsequent violation, which may be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General, or a district attorney or city attorney, in any court of competent jurisdiction. If the Attorney General, district attorney, or city attorney prevails in an action under this subdivision, the court shall award to the Attorney General, district attorney, or city attorney reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

(d) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Childcare item” means any product designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sleep, relaxation, or the feeding of children, or to help children with sucking or teething.

(2) “Children” means persons 12 years of age or less.

(3) “Toy” means a product designed or intended by the manufacturer to be used by children when they play.

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