In the state of California, someone can now be fined or imprisoned for willfully and repeatedly misusing someone’s pronoun. Currently this law is limited to those who work in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, but I suspect that this law will be expanded into other institutions and we will see similar laws in other states. The current version of this law known as the LGBT Senior Bill of Rights also requires that nursing homes in care facilities let residents use the restroom of their actual gender identity.
This law is similar to an update to the 1945 Human Rights Law in New York City. This update allows people to be fined up to $250,000 for willful and malicious misuse of gender pronouns. That new NYC law may be used to fine employers, landlords and service providers who deliberately address individuals by the wrong name or pronouns.
Let's be clear that these laws are not enforceable for accidental misgendering. It happens. However, when there are consistent, repetitive, deliberate acts of misgendering, it's clear that the person's intentions are malicious.
Regardless of a worker's religious affiliation or belief in the legitimacy of the transgender community, it’s critical for all workers to use the correct pronouns and gender identity of the people they are serving. I know this may seem complicated concepts for some workers to understand at first, however Equality Institute can help through our on-demand eLearning, FLEX, designed to help workers understand these concepts in a fast, practical way. Contact us today for a demo of FLEX.