Employers subject to California’s mandatory sexual harassment training requirement for supervisors will need to ensure their programs include prevention of harassment against transgender and gender nonconforming individuals following an amendment (SB 396) to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
On October 15, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 396 into law. California remains at the forefront of promoting awareness and protections of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in the workplace.
As of January 1, 2018, employers must display a poster issued by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing regarding transgender rights in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace. The Department’s poster is available on its website.
SB 396 amends Government Code section 12950.1, which requires an employer with at least 50 employees to provide supervisors at least two hours of training regarding sexual harassment and abusive conduct. Amended Section 12950.1 includes harassment training on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. The training must provide examples of such harassment, and the trainer must have knowledge or expertise in this area.
Employers should consult with the Jackson Lewis counsel with whom they work on how best to prepare and deliver compliant and impactful transgender training materials.
In addition to creating new poster and training requirements, SB 396 also amended the Unemployment Insurance Code (UIC) in two significant ways. First, the UIC was amended to include transgender and gender nonconforming individuals as persons eligible for programs and services offered under the California Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Second, the UIC was amended to allow community-based organizations that assist transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to serve as members on the California Workforce Development Board.