State Sen. Ricardo Lara, who represents Long Beach, is backing new legislation that would require some California employers to train their managers on how to avoid harassment based on gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.
Lara changed his legislation, S.B. 396 in late June, amending the bill from being one that would have requested University of California leaders to create a medical residency program open to undocumented students, to one focused on transgender protections in the workplace.
If enacted into law, S.B. 396 would require California businesses with 50 or more employees that are already required to train their supervisors to avoid sexual harassment to also offer lessons related to gender identity and expression, as well as sexual orientation.
Lara wants California policy to represent a 180-degree opposite to what’s emanating from the federal government under the Trump Administration. He also said he was motivated to introduce the bill after his brother showed him a video dealing with the hardships experienced by a transgendered El Pollo Loco manager who identifies as a woman and lost a previous job after a female customer objected to her use of the women’s restroom.
“Instead of employees addressing these issues, they let these employees go, putting them in financial ruin,” Lara said.
S.B. 396 is supported by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, according to an official bill analysis published early this month.
There were no registered opponents to the bill as of the time of that report.
Lara said he is hopeful of his bill being ready for the governor’s signature this year.
The senator also this week criticized the president’s Wednesday morning tweet declaring he will not allow transgendered people to serve in the military.
“This is abhorrent. … To me, this is very distressing. Again, this is in a long line of irrational decisions that are being made without taking into consideration that sacrifices of these soldiers,” Lara said. “President Trump needs to educate himself as to what are the needs for our transgendered community, instead of continuing to vilify them.”