LOS ANGELES--California state legislators have rejected a bill that would have made it illegal for an employer to prohibit women from wearing pants on the job.
The "pants bill," as legislators have been calling it, was defeated twice last week in the California State Senate after some lawmakers argued the proposal interfered with an employer's right to establish proper dress standards. Backers of the legislation are trying to resurrect the bill and may bring the issue up to a vote again today.
The bill was proposed by Assemblywoman Diane Martinez, from Monterey Park near Los Angeles, after she received a letter from a woman who claimed her employer ordered her to go home because she was wearing pants. The bill passed the Assembly before being voted down in the Senate. Three of five women senators voted against the measure.
Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Association, said it is unclear whether the bill would strike down all dress codes, a factor that he said contributed to its defeat. He also said that others have questioned whether this is a matter that should be taken up at all by the state legislature.
"Is it really appropriate for people to spend time on this sort of issue with everything we have facing us in California?" Dombrowski said.
Although the California Retailers Association has not taken an official position on the bill, it is opposed by the California Manufacturers Association and General Telephone and Electric, who argued it would limit their ability to set dress standards.

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