Making sure your anti-harassment training for supervisors includes how to prevent harassment of LGBT employees should be on the holiday to-do list for California organizations this year. A new law, CA SB 396, which goes into effect on January 1, 2018, requires that employers with 50 or more employees train managers and supervisors on how to identify and prevent harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
The new law also requires that employers prominently display a poster developed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) on transgender rights in the workplace.
SB 396 amends the state’s existing laws covering sexual harassment training − California AB 1825 and California AB 2053. Under AB 1825, employers must provide supervisors with two hours of training on preventing sexual harassment every two years. All new supervisory employees must complete training within six months of assuming their new position. The AB 2053 amendment mandates that education on abusive conduct, or what is commonly known as “bullying,” be included in that training.
Traliant’s Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for CA/CT Managers meets AB 1825’s training requirement. The course also covers how to respond to complaints of harassment and discrimination, how to prevent retaliation and how to create a positive work environment based on respect and dignity.
Preparing for California SB 396
To comply with SB 396, organizations should review and update all discrimination and harassment policies and training programs to ensure they include a section that specifically trains managers on how to identify and prevent discrimination related to gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
Providing clear definitions of terminology, along with examples of acceptable and unacceptable behavior, are other important elements in creating awareness and understanding of LGBT co-workers and applicants. Managers should also be aware of their responsibility to honor employees’ request to use their preferred name or pronoun.
As we discussed in a previous post, here are a few of the current definitions from the California Fair Employment & Housing Council:
- Gender expression – refers to a person’s gender-related appearance or behavior, whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s sex at birth.
- Gender identity – refers to a person’s identification as male, female, a gender different from the person’s sex at birth, or transgender.
- Transgender – refers to a general term that refers to a person whose gender identity differs from the person’s sex at birth. A transgender person may or may not have a gender expression that is different from the social expectations of the sex assigned at birth. A transgender person may or may not identify as “transsexual.”
- Transitioning – refers to the process some transgender people go through to begin living as the gender with which they identify, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth. This may or may not include changes in name and pronoun, bathroom/facility usage and participation in activities.
California employers with 50 or more workers have until January 1, 2018 to meet the new requirement that anti-harassment training for managers cover gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. The focus of the new law, SB 396, is to expand workplace fairness and respect by preventing harassment and abusive behavior against LGBT employees. SB 396 also requires employers to prominently display a poster developed by California’s DFEH on transgender rights in the workplace.