Sexual Harassment Training Must Now Include Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation
Sexual Harassment Training Must Now Include Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation

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.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP.  It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked.  So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again.  This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing.  No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits).  But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you.  And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry).  Big news: Copyright 2017.  All rights reserved; yep, all of them. If you have any questions about this article, contact the writer directly, assuming he or she was brave enough to attach their name to it. 


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