Politics

California's sexual harassment prevention laws will expand in 2018

FILE: Transgender men and women will see expanded workplace protections due to a new law that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
FILE: Transgender men and women will see expanded workplace protections due to a new law that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
Jonathan Drake/Reuters

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In the new year, California’s laws that govern sexual harassment will get an update with expanded protections for transgender men and women. 

The new rules stem from S.B. 396, which expands sexual harassment training for supervisors that has been required in California since 2004. In 2018, the mandatory training will now include education for supervisors on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Known as the Transgender Work Opportunity Act, the new law will impact about 60 percent of all work places in the state – those with 50 employees or more.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara authored S.B. 396 and calls it a "first in the nation law." He believes it will help those who are transgender remain employed.

"The numbers are staggering of the amount of transgender men and women who have left their job because they don't feel safe or they’ve been discriminated against," he said. 

Lara said supervisors need to be aware of the rights of all of their employees, rights that cover issues like which bathrooms transgender men and women may use.

Large employers will also be required to place posters on transgender rights in an accessible location in the workplace.