In light of the substantial media attention given to sexual harassment issues in recent months, employers should anticipate new legislation on this topic. Senate Bill 396, however, was drafted before the increased focus on these issues began. As of January 1, 2018, the enactment of the Transgender Work Opportunity Act (SB 396) makes California the first state to require that harassment trainings cover the topics of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) already required sexual harassment training for managers and supervisors in organizations with 50 or more employees, but did not specifically reference discussion of these topics. Employers have been required to provide supervisors with two hours of training every two years on sexual harassment prevention, and within six months of assumption of supervisory duties. In recent years, the law was expanded through the passage of Assembly Bill 2053 to further mandate that harassment trainings include education on abusive conduct, or what is commonly known as “bullying.” The new law, SB 396, now adds additional content requirements – prevention of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation – and also requires employers to display a poster to be developed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing on transgender rights in the workplace.
Upcoming Seminar: New Laws for 2018
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