National Organization of Women Consent Decree and Marin County's Commitment to Women
In 1980, the County entered into an agreement with the National Organization of Women
(NOW) as part of a settlement reached in response to NOW’s federal lawsuit alleging
discrimination and disparate treatment of women with regard to County of Marin’s workforce.
Consistent with and authorized by the Consent Decree, Marin County is committed to bringing
women into all levels and segments of the County’s workforce in proportion to their
representation in the relevant job market.
The County has established and maintains an intensive recruitment program aimed at recruiting
greater numbers of women candidates. In addition to other methods, the County focuses
recruitment efforts among women’s organizations, communities, and individuals. The County
maintains communications with community and governmental organizations that represent
ethnic, minority, and female interests and utilizes services provided by such organizations. The
County strives to eliminate gender discrimination in job descriptions, job qualifications,
compensation, examinations, and all other aspects of employment. The County ensures that
boards for oral examinations in which there are female examinees include at least one female
member and endeavors to have one female on any board.
Once hired by Marin County, female employees who are not in the professional and
administrators, official EEO 4 category are eligible for 20 hours release time per year to attend
programs designed to enhance the employees’ abilities for career advancement These
programs are developed and/or selected by the County Equal Employment Officer and the
Department of Human Resources. Each eligible employee or applicant should receive a written
copy of the career ladder position they occupy or have applied for, with a written explanation of
the opportunities for, and limitations on, promotions, reclassification, and lateral transfers. This process is being refined and will be made available to all applicants and employees during fiscal year 2010-11.
The County maintains a discrimination complaint procedure available to investigate and resolve
allegations of prohibited discrimination. Any retaliation for filing a discrimination complaint will be monitored and treated as prohibited discrimination as well.
Historically, the County has filed reports twice per year setting forth information regarding the
gender of applicants; the number of interest cards filed by gender and position applied for;
number of men and women who left employment and the reason for each woman; and the total
number of those employees eligible for merit salary or promotions which were not granted, and
the reason for each female. The reports also included copies of all employee and applicant
complaints and investigative reports and results; copies of all employee notices required by the
Consent Decree; and a copy of each job description for each department. The County now
provides a more streamlined report which includes interview and appointment data and the most
current equal employment report.
The County is required by the terms of the Consent Decree to inform all employees and
applicants for employment that the County entered into the Consent Decree, that there is an
available complaint procedure, and that the Equal Employment Officer and Human Resources
are available to investigate and resolve complaints involving allegations of prohibited
discrimination. County personnel regulations (PMR 21) specify the discrimination complaint
procedure, including a complaint form and the anti-discrimination policy. The County provides
PMR 21 training for all regular hire personnel, which also includes providing notice that the
County has entered into a Consent Decree. In addition, notice of the Consent Decree is printed
on all County applications for employment.
In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 209, codified as Article I, Section 31 of the
California Constitution. Proposition 209 provides, in part, that “[t]he state shall not
discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the
basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public
employment.‖ Proposition 209 has been interpreted to mean that California may not grant
preferential treatment to racial minorities or women, despite compelling reasons to do so. The
only relevant exceptions are for consent decrees in force prior to the passage of Proposition 209
or where federal law requires the use of race or gender to establish or maintain eligibility for a federal program and where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.
Because the County of Marin is subject to the terms of the 1980 Consent Decree and consistent
with the consent decree exception in Proposition 209, the County must abide by the guidelines
set forth in the Consent Decree.