OSHA Releases Guidance on Bathroom use by Transgender Employees

By | June 1, 2015

On June 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers. The news release can be found at: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=28062. The guide can be found at: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3795.pdf.

The OSHA publication is intended to provide employers with guidance for best practices on restroom access for transgender employees. The four-page guide begins with the core principle that “All employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity”. It includes sections on understanding gender identity, why restroom access is a health and safety matter, OSHA’s sanitation standard, model practices for restroom access for transgender employees, and other federal, state, and local laws.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) also recently addressed bathroom use by transgender employees. The regulations implementing Executive Order (EO) 13672, which revised EO 11246 to include gender identity and sexual orientation in the list of impermissible bases of discrimination, went into effect on April 8, 2015. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page addresses a question on restroom use, stating, “Under the Final Rule, contractors must ensure that their restroom access policies and procedures do not discriminate based on the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant or employee. In keeping with the federal government’s existing legal position on this issue, contractors must allow employees and applicants to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity.” In addition, the proposed Sex Discrimination Guidelines explicitly prohibit denying transgender employees access to the bathroom used by the gender with which they identify. The OFCCP’s FAQ page can be found at: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/LGBT/LGBT_FAQs.html.

Please contact us by calling (732) 446-2529 or sending us an e-mail at glennbarlett@gbcs.net if you are interested in discussing the OSHA guidance.