On October 15, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law, SB 396 (Lara). The new law requires the sexual harassment prevention training programs for employers of 50 or more employees to specifically include within their training the prevention of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. One section of the new law specifically states that an “employer shall also provide training inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation as a component of the training and education specified in subdivision (a). The training and education shall include practical examples inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, and shall be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in those areas.” (Gov. Code §12950.1.) This is a solid clarification of the laws protecting employees from unlawful harassment California.
The section amended by the new law also states that “abusive conduct” as referred to in the law, “means conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.”