Best Practices for Transgender Restroom Access

June 3, 2015

New OSHA guide to ensure fair treatment, safe working conditions.

To ensure safe workplaces for all employees, OSHA has released a set of guidelines to help facilities professionals provide proper restroom access for transgender workers, defined as individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Recommended practices include:

  1. Implement a written policy ensuring that all employees have access to appropriate facilities by allowing them to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. 
  2. Use of multiple-occupant, gender-neutral restroom facilities with lockable single occupant stalls.
  3. Single-occupancy gender-neutral facilities.
  4. Employees should not be asked to provide any medical or legal documentation of their gender identity.
  5. No employee should be required to use a segregated facility apart from other employees due to their gender identity or transgender status.

The guidelines note that requiring employees to userestrooms that are inconsistent with their gender identity or segregating occupants into gender-neutral restrooms can have a negative effect by singling people out and even causing them to fear for their physical safety. While gender-neutral restrooms may be a part of the overall strategy, no employee should be required to use them.

While the OSHA guidelines are not binding, facilities professionals are also encouraged to stay mindful of the potential application of federal anti-discrimination laws, such as an April 2015 ruling from the EEOC that maintains the denial of access to common restrooms used by other employees of the same gender identity constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII.

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