A Candid Look at Restroom Parity
As part of its mission to educate employers and workers and prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has just released an updated version of the mandatory Transgender Rights in the Workplace posting. The updated Transgender Rights posting provides indispensable clarity regarding the use of workplace restrooms, locker rooms and like facilities. The upshot of these changes is that employees must be permitted to use a restroom that corresponds to their gender identity and cannot be forced to use a unisex single-stall restroom, regardless of the reason.
Protection from Discrimination in the Use of Restroom Facilities
California law protects employees from discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment based on sex, gender identity and gender expression. This protection includes individuals who are transgender, transitioning, or gender non-conforming. In particular, employees are protected from discrimination on the basis of sex or gender identity in the use of workplace restrooms.
The specific standards that apply to employees’ use of restrooms, locker rooms, showers and like facilities are established by state regulation. These basic principles are reflected on the Transgender Rights posting. The standards affirm that all employees have a right to safe and appropriate restroom and locker room facilities. Further, the standards require that employers permit employees to use a restroom or locker room that corresponds with the employee’s gender identity, regardless of the employee’s assigned sex at birth. The revised Transgender Rights posting describes how these protections apply to the use of unisex single-stall restrooms.
Unisex Single-stall Restrooms
Along with providing greater protections to the transitioning and transgender community, all-access single-occupancy restrooms are fast becoming a standard feature in California workplaces. By law, single-occupancy restrooms in business establishments are required to be gender-neutral and identified by gender-neutral signage. The sign can identify the room as a “Restroom,” “Unisex,” “Gender Neutral,” “All Gender Restroom,” or by similar terms.
Although California employers are not required to provide single-occupancy restrooms, the Transgender Rights posting contains new text encouraging employers to provide an easily accessible unisex single-stall restroom for use by any employee who desires increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason. The posting emphasizes that:
- Use of a unisex single-stall restroom should always be a matter of choice.
- No employee should be forced to use a single-stall restroom as a matter of policy or due to harassment in a gender-appropriate facility.
An employer with multiple single-occupancy restrooms may not designate any of these single-stall restrooms for use by “males” or “females.”
Who is Covered by Restroom Access Standards?
Employers with one or more employees are subject to California’s law against employment discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, gender identity or gender expression and are responsible for posting the updated Transgender Rights posting. In addition, all employers are encouraged to include their business’s restroom and locker room access policy as part of their required written harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention policy. Employers interested in learning more about their responsibilities can access California’s Fair Employment Housing Act and implementing regulations from the DFEH’s Laws and Regulations webpage.
California Updates Mandatory Transgender Rights in the Workplace Posting – Peel ‘N Post Update Sticker Available
Employers covered by California’s anti-discrimination law are required to post the updated Transgender Rights in the Workplace posting. There are two easy ways to comply – Employers with our California All-On-One™ Labor Law Poster can comply using our Transgender Rights in the Workplace Peel ‘N Post Update Sticker or comply by posting our updated California All-On-One™ Labor Law Poster.