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Mar 29, 2016

Are employers required to have gender neutral bathrooms?

Q&APrivacy & Confidentiality 

Question: Does the law require employers to have unisex bathrooms even if we don’t have transgender employees?

Answer: No, you are not required to have gender neutral bathrooms, but it is a very good idea to have them if at all possible. First, you may have a transgender employee—one who identifies with the opposite gender—even if he or she hasn’t told you yet. You also don’t know whether visiting family or clients are transgender and would be more comfortable using a gender neutral bathroom. In its Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emphatically states “All employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.” Recent legal decisions support this position, with courts dismissing employer concerns that non-transgender workers are uncomfortable about sharing restrooms with transgender individuals. You have several options for how to use or retrofit your bathrooms to accommodate current or potential transgender workers. To discuss these options, as well as other ways to prepare for transitioning employees, call your Vigilant employment attorney.

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