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Training Tip of the Week: Helping Employees Navigate Emerging Compliance Topics

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Grace Hill

Grace Hill Training Tip of the Week



One of the trickiest things about compliance training is keeping up with changing laws and emerging topics. You likely keep up with federal law, and even legislative activity in your own state, but how often do you take the time to explore what’s going on in other states?


On October 15, 2017, Governor Brown signed California Senate Bill 396 into law, which adds new requirements for mandatory sexual harassment training.


Effective January 1, 2018, the mandatory training must cover harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Even if you don’t have employees or properties in California, this legislation is worth noting.

Let’s take a quick quiz.

Hand holding placard with quiz text Hand holding placard with quiz text and speech bubble symbols speech bubble symbols
Scenario-based questions like this help learners apply guidance to their jobs and also to remember what they have learned better.


Will is an employee who was assigned the sex “female” at birth, but identifies as a male. Will met with his supervisor to let him know that he wants people to use male pronouns when referring to him. Which is the best thing for the supervisor to do after hearing Will’s request?


  1. Use male pronouns when referring to Will and ensure other employees do too
  2. Insist on using female pronouns when referring to Will since he was born a female
  3. Note in Will’s employee file that he is a trouble maker and should not be promoted
  4. Tell Will he will try to remember to use male pronouns, but can’t make any promises


The best answer is A. Will’s supervisor should comply with Will’s request, and ensure that other employees do too. Failing to use the gender pronoun and name that correspond to the gender with which an employee identifies is discriminatory.


How did you do? How do you think your employees would have responded?


To some, the topics of gender identity and gender expression may seem complex, but there is a simple approach. Focus on employees’ work performance, not their characteristics. When reviewing job applicants, make decisions based on how they compare to the stated job description and requirements. Everyone has the right to a respectful, safe work environment. Building a culture of civility and respect in your organization takes a thoughtful, ongoing effort.


Even if training on these topics is not mandated in your state, California’s recent legislation is a good reminder to keep your compliance training current so employees know how to appropriately navigate emerging topics.


Join us for a webinar on California’s recent changes.

If you are an employer in California, Grace Hill wants you to understand how these laws will impact you and your business. Please join us on December 12 at 3PM EST for a webinar about the impact of new legal requirements on California employers. Register for the webinar here:


Note that Grace Hill’s Sexual Harassment California Supervisor course is being updated to meet the new requirements. The updated course will be released at the end of December.


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