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Sexual Harassment Training Now Includes Sexual Orientation

The fall of various prominent men due to sexual harassment accusations is very much in the news. It is also clear that such harassment went on for years, even decades, and victims were too intimidated or frightened to report these crimes. Sexual harassment of state workers in Sacramento appears to exist at epic levels, according to news reports. The good news about this recent media coverage is that more people are feeling empowered to file sexual harassment claims against employers rather than keeping quiet about an intolerable situation. Not all victims of sexual harassment are women. The fact that one accused celebrity, actor Kevin Spacey, is a gay man alleged to have preyed upon young males may encourage gay or transsexual victims of sexual harassment to come forward.

Gender Identity Harassment

A new law onĀ mandatory training regarding gender identity harassment was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October, 2017. In California, an employer informed about a sexual harassment situation who fails to act on the matter may be held liable. By law, employers with at least 50 employees or independent contractors must provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors every two years. Any new supervisor must receive this training within six months of assuming his or her duties. The new law extends the scope of this training to include harassment based on "gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation." While harassment of someone because of their gender identification or sexual preference has long been illegal, before now there was no absolute requirement for supervisors to receive training on these specific issues. The law requires that training is conducted by individuals with expertise in the fields of gender identity and sexual orientation, and that supervisors receive practical examples of what constitutes such harassment.

The new law also requires employers to post a Department of Fair Employment and Housing - the agency responsible for overseeing sexual harassment claims in the workplace - poster explaining transgender rights in a prominent area of the workplace.

Statute of Limitations

California's statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment lawsuit does not give a victim a lot of time to file a claim. If a plaintiff does not file a claim within one year of the date of the last incident of sexual harassment - or any related retaliation - the right to sue is lost. That's why it is critical to contact a California sexual harassment lawyer as soon as possible.

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