1901 - Bona Fide Associations Policy


Bona Fide Associations

Audience List

  • Department Deputy Directors
  • Department Directors
  • Employee Relations Officers
  • Labor Relations Officers


This policy

  • defines Bona Fide Associations
  • provides registration information
  • provides instruction regarding access to state facilities
  • provides information regarding permitted activities


Government Code Section 1150(d) defines “Bona Fide Association” as an organization of employees and former employees of an agency of the State and the California State University, and which does not have as one of its purposes representing these employees in their employer-employee relations.

California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) Rule 599.866 further defines a Bona Fide Association as an organization of employees and former employees of the state including affirmative action advocacy groups and professional organizations that do not have as one of their purposes the representing of employees in their relations with the state.


Bona fide associations are required to register with CalHR on or about July 1 of each calendar year.

Registration as a Bona Fide Association means ONLY that the organization has filed the appropriate paperwork and that CalHR has determined that the organization’s constitution and bylaws satisfy the legal requirements for registration as a Bona Fide Association.

Registration as a Bona Fide Association does NOT mean that CalHR is in support of the organization or its goals or that the organization is authorized to offer benefits in CalHR’s name or on its behalf.


Access to State Facilities

Registration as a Bona Fide Association does NOT authorize the organization access to State-owned or State-leased property.

Facility management is responsible for ensuring facility security and the continuity of State operations. Accordingly, facility management retains full authority over the control of organizational access and organizational activities at the office or facility location.

As a rule of thumb, CalHR recommends that Bona Fide Associations be allowed the same access to the facility as the general public and charitable organizations. Generally, access is appropriate for non-commercial purposes (e.g., membership recruitment) in public areas, such as cafeterias and break rooms. Access to office work areas is inappropriate and disruptive to office operations.

Commercial Activities

Registration as a Bona Fide Association does NOT authorize the organization to conduct sales or other commercial activities on State-owned or State-leased property. A permit issued by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is required to conduct commercial activity on State property (California Code of Regulations, Title 13, Division 2, Chapter 11, Section 1855).

Commercial activity is defined in California Code of Regulations, Section 1851 as “any activity or action, undertaken in whole or in part by one or more business entities and/or individuals, whose purpose in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, is to derive or realize a present or future financial gain for the individual(s) or business entity or entities.”

At least one registered Bona Fide Association has been able to circumvent the commercial activity permit requirement by conducting “membership drives” at state facilities and offering AFLAC insurance as a benefit available only through membership in the association. If facility management determines that the purpose of the organization on site is “to derive or realize a present or future financial gain for the individual(s) or business entity or entities”, the organization should be denied access or removed from the site unless they have a commercial activity permit issued by the CHP.





  • PML 2004-048: PML 2004-048 - 9/16/2004 - Correction to PML Memorandum 2004-048 (Bona Fide Associations - Access to State Facilities)

Web Pages

Contact Person

Kate Van Sickle
Labor Relations Specialist, Labor Relations Division
Phone: 916-324-0435
Fax: 916-322-0765
Email: kate.vansickle@calhr.ca.gov

Authorized By

Pam Manwiller
Deputy Director of Labor Relations, Labor Relations Division


View History

Table of Contents

1000 - Equal Employment Opportunity

1100 - Selection

1200 - Appointments

1300 - Exempt Employees

1400 - Benefits and Insurance

1500 - Work Schedules

1600 - Third Party Pre-Tax Parking

1700 - Compensation

1800 - Savings Plus

1900 - Bona Fide Associations

2000 - Collective Bargaining

2100 - Leave

2200 - Travel/Relocation

2300 - State Owned Housing

2400 - Employee Recognition

2500 - Discipline

2600 - Layoffs

2700 - Retirement

2800 - Training

2900 - Workforce Planning

3000 - Examination and Hiring

3100 - Drug-Free Workplace