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California Adds ‘Transgender,’ ‘Gender Nonconforming Individuals’ to Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for Supervisors

Employers subject to California’s mandatory sexual harassment training requirement for supervisors will need to ensure their programs include prevention of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation 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.

For more on the state regulations in this area, see our article, California’s New Regulations Offer More Protection for Transgender Individuals.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019

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About this Author

Michelle E. Phillips, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Labor Employment Attorney
Principal

Michelle E. Phillips is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She handles various types of employment litigation, with an emphasis on sexual harassment matters.

Ms. Phillips also counsels clients on a variety of labor and employment matters concerning federal and state employment laws. She frequently conducts and advises clients on internal investigations and leads employment discrimination and sexual harassment seminars and in-house diversity training programs for clients.

914-328-0404
Cary G Palmer, Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Office Managing Principal

Cary G. Palmer is Office Managing Principal of the Sacramento, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He represents management in employment, labor and benefits law and related litigation.

Mr. Palmer practices before the state and federal courts in California, the United States Department of Labor, the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Mr. Palmer also defends management in statewide and nationwide class action and collective action litigation. He also defends management in litigation involving wrongful termination, reductions in force, discrimination, harassment, breach of contract, wage and hour, benefits, and other labor and employment-related actions. Mr. Palmer also conducts employee and management training seminars, and provides proactive employment advice and counsel.

916-341-0404
Sierra Vierra, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Sacramento, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
Associate

Sierra Vierra is an Associate in the Sacramento, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents management in civil litigation and administrative proceedings involving employment law matters, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, benefits, and a wide range of wage and hour issues. She litigates in federal and state courts, including class and representative actions, and represents employers in administrative proceedings. She also provides preventive advice and counsel on best practices.

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916-288-3008