The White House recently added a gender-neutral bathroom, and that rankled a few of the administration's critics. But it lead some smaller employers to a bigger question: Is this something that is required of every workplace in order to accommodate future employees?
OSHA recently released guidelines on this very topic for employers, and it was pretty straightforward: "All employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity."
In short, that means that nothing has to change as long as every employee has the right to choose the bathroom most appropriate for their own gender identity. Things that would not be appropriate or legally defensible include asking employees to provide documentation as to their gender identity, or requiring transgender employees to use separate restrooms. So although it may be beneficial to your staff to provide single-occupant restrooms or even declaring the restrooms gender neutral a la Ally McBeal, you cannot put rules in place requiring only certain individuals to use them.
Recent rulings indicate that the law is putting discrimination of transgendered individuals in the category of sex discrimination as defined under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This started in 2012 with Macy v. Holder and has been reaffirmed in more recent decisions.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.
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