Sandra Bledsoe

Senate Bill (SB) 396 Training: All That You Need To Know

The Senate Bill 396 or SB 396 came into force after the amendment of Assembly Bill 1825, California, which was passed on October 15, 2017, against harassment or discrimination in the workplace. According to SB 396, a company with more than 50 employees, their supervisor needs to provide 2-hour training to workers every 2 years to prevent harassment which is done based on the gender of an individual that can be about their gender expression, sexual orientation, and gender identity. 

Sexual harassment has become a prevalent issue that is directly affecting employees. It leads to mental as well as physical torture, which can be depressing for an individual. Discriminating an individual based on their sex is prohibited in the workplace. No one has the right to comment on one’s gender identity or sexuality.

The manager of a company has to mention all these points in their training session with proper orientation and guidance. Also, the Department of Fair and Housing (DFEH) states that the employer has to put a poster depicting transgender rights in the relevant area.

Amendments did on the California SB 396

Some basic amendments were done over this bill which is briefly mentioned below:

  • The trainer hired for the training of the employees should be knowledgeable and skilled for its conduction. Trainers should be competent in dealing with sexual harassment training and make the workers feel comfortable throughout the training. Also, Trainers must relate real-life examples of gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression in the entire session.
  • Employers must follow the Department of Employment and Housing’s terms and regulations which says that the company has to put an updated poster with information on employment discrimination involving sexual harassment. Also, the rights of transgender and non-gender employees must be included on the poster.
  • Every employer must give two hours of sexual harassment training based on sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity if their company has 50 or more employees. The training should cover all the infringement involved with sexual harassment and the legal actions and protection that an employee can take against sexual harassment.
  • The manager of a company must get training about how to avoid or correct any misconduct or abusive behavior that may be verbally or physically. It is also mentioned that intriguing into an individual workplace will also be considered as an offensive act.


  • All employees, including transgender employees, have the right to get support or counseling from their employers to accomplish their career objectives. No company should discriminate among any transgender individual, whether related to any official task or their promotion and salary increment. If the individual possesses all the qualities which the company requires then, they should be given a chance for every opportunity.


Some Important Terminologies which are related to Transgender Employees

There are some basic terminologies under SB 396 which must be introduced to the transgender employees during the training which is mentioned below:

  • Sexual Orientation: Sexual orientation is a personal characteristic that is part of who you are. It covers all manifestations of human sexuality, from lesbian or gay to bisexual or heterosexual.
  • Gender Expression: It refers to behaviors, a form of presentation or physical appearance, tastes, and individual attitudes. They may have a combination of physical traits, both male and female, or an appearance that does not identify their gender.
  • Gender Identity: It is defined as how someone feels and presents themselves and other people as male or female, or it can be a mixture, a mixture of both, regardless of biological sex. It is the way we recognize ourselves and want others to recognize us. 
  • Transitioning: It is the process by which transgender people pass through in order to alter their  gender identity and expression from the sex which they have right from their birth.

Transgender Individual Rights on Workplace                             

Following are rights that are reserved for the Transgenders that must be included or introduced to them during the training session:

  • Company’s  employers and interviewers  should refrain from asking questions that are intended to determine a person’s gender identity.
  • Employers should not inquire about a person’s physical appearance or whether they intend to have surgery in the future.
  • If a company is having a particular dress-code then this should be enforced for each and every employee. No discrimination should occur over this.
  • Every employee has a right to access a secure and appropriate restroom and locker room. This includes the right to use a restroom or locker room that is free from any kind of discrimination or gender identity. Each has to share equal rights regardless to the employee’s sex or gender since birth.
  • If needed, an employer should be provided with an easily accessible unisex single-stall bathroom who wants to have more privacy due to personal reasons instead of the underlying reason.
  • Every single-use washroom facility in any company, firm, public place or any state or local government organization must be built to provide facilities to all the genders without any inequality.

Along with these instructions, the company manager or employers can’t address a transgender person with an abusive or ruthless tone. They are supposed to refer to them with their good name. They can’t indicate one with any slang or particular word which is related to their gender individuality.

Quick Checklist That A Company Or An Organization should Know About SB 396

Before starting the SB 396 training among the employees, a company or an organization should know some basic key points they need to include in their training to run it smoothly. Also, every co-worker must be informed about the same, and the manager or the employer must ensure that these rules should be followed properly.

  • The posters which are related to the harrasment and discrimination policies should be updated. It must spread some message which should be relevant to the main concern.
  • Dress codes and all the workplace standards should be up to date and must be the same and applicable to every individual.
  • All the employees or workers should be trained properly to use a specific term when they intend to discuss something related to gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. Sentiments of an individual are not supposed to be hurt.
  • The employees should use proper names and pronouns for their co-workers. No such words should be used that represent their gender identity or gender expression.
  • In training, all the employees should be familiar with how one can identify and prevent harassment directly related to gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

It is necessary to identify and take proper actions against any kind of sexual harassment. It is illegal to bully someone or make them feel inferior, relating to one’s gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. This step can make the LGBT employees live a life of dignity and peace with equal sharing of rights.