Suit challenges Caltrans’ new contracting quotas — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Suit challenges Caltrans’ new contracting quotas

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The Pacific Legal Foundation recently filed a lawsuit alleging that Caltrans’ new contract quota program for minority-owned firms is unconstitutional.

The suit, filed on behalf of the San Diego chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America, argues that Caltrans did not do enough to show that discrimination was a problem before it implemented the program.

Thus, the suit claims, the program violates the U.S. Constitution and Proposition 209, the voter-approved measure expressly prohibiting race- and sex-based quotas in public contracting.

Before 2006, Caltrans had employed a race-conscious program. But, in 2005, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there must be evidence of a disparity in the awarding of contracts to minority-owned firms before such policies are enacted.

Caltrans contends that it started the new program after internal research found that just 3% to 4.6% of its contracts went to minorities. A Pacific Legal Foundation attorney said that wasn’t enough evidence to justify instituting minority-contracting quotas.

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