According to a 2016 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA, there are over 220,000 transgender adults in California. California has just taken a major step towards protecting their employment rights.
On October 15, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 396. Known as the “Transgender Work Opportunity Act,” SB 396 makes California the first state in the nation to require training about gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Starting on January 1, 2018, all California employers with 50 or more employees must include gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation in the mandatory 2-hour sexual harassment training that all supervisory employees are required to get under existing law.
In addition, SB 396 requires all employers starting on January 1, 2018 to post in a “prominent and accessible location” a notice developed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) on transgender rights.
Finally, an existing law known as the California Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act makes programs and services available to individuals with employment barriers and creates a board to carry out specified functions in furtherance of that act. SB 396 expands the definition of an “individual with employment barriers” to include transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. SB 396 also directs the board representing the state workforce to include representatives of community-based organizations that serve transgender and gender nonconforming individuals, effective January 1, 2018.