Gender Identity and Gender Expression: California Harassment Training Mandates SB396

Gender Identity and Gender Expression: California Harassment Training Mandates SB396

Gender Identity and Gender Expression: California Harassment Training Mandates SB396

Did you know about SB396 Training Requirements?

California’s SB396, states organizations with 50+ employees are required to expand their existing anti-harassment training to include discrimination and sexual harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. 

Existing California harassment laws covering training requirements are 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.

Employee Harassment Trainings engaging interactive seminar “Beyond the Law:  Preventing Sexual Harassment, Bullying and Gender Discrimination” for both managers and employees meets the newest mandate to the harassment training requirements SB 396, as well as California’s AB 1825, AB 2053, and FEHA 2016 updates.

FEHA 2016 added preventative policies, protections, and employer actions to reduce harassment, discrimination, and workplace retaliation.  

Understanding LGBT Terms, Rights and Protections

An important component in California sexual harassment training mandate SB396 is to discuss LGBT terminology, and list examples of acceptable and unacceptable behavior towards transgender co-workers. Here are a few of the definitions from California Fair Employment & Housing:  

  • 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 – the process of some transgender people go through to begin living as the gender with which they identify, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth. May or may not include changes in name and pronoun, bathroom/facility usage and participation in activities in the workplace.
  • Sex – Not limited to but included:  pregnancy, childbirth, medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding; gender; gender identity; and gender expression.
  • Sex stereotype – ssumptions about a person’s appearance or behavior, or about an individual’s ability or inability to perform certain kinds of work based on a belief, social expectation, or generalization about the individual’s sexual orientation.

Use preferred names and pronouns 

In California and some other jurisdictions, laws protecting against gender discrimination require that employers honor requests from employees to identify them by a preferred gender, name or pronoun.   Key guidelines to keep in mind:

  • What is an employee requests a new name on a business card or to be called by a different pronoun?
    •  Employers can easily honor these requests. 
    • However, in situations such as the issuing of paychecks, where it’s necessary to meet a legal obligation, employers may need to use the employee’s gender or legal name as it appears on a government-issued ID.
  • Employers may be liable for failing to use a name or pronoun requested by an employee. 
    • What is someone forgets to use the correct pronoun? The employer would not be automatically liable it is all part of a bigger picture. 
    • Note: It is not necessary for businesses to develop a plan to address name and pronoun change requests, nor required to communicate to managers and employees their responsibility to use the individual’s preferred name or pronoun.
  • Regarding pronouns themselves, there are many different ways individuals might request to be addressed. They may wish to change from using she/her/hers to he/him/his, or vice versa. Employees may request to be addressed by gender-neutral pronouns, such as the singular they/them/their or by ze/hir/hirs or other pronouns. Employees may also request to only be address by their name, and no pronouns at all.

It starts here:    Train your supervisors and managers to identify and prevent abusive behavior in the workplace and ensure that LGBT employees have a safe peaceful working environment to be productive and earn a living.  This includes treatment of the same respect, dignity and fairness as any other individual.

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