If you currently have at least 15 employees, or plan to in the future, this is for you! This post will give you the straight facts surrounding the Transgender Bathroom Access Law and will not take part in any of the debate. NO RANTS HERE, WE SAVE IT FOR FACEBOOK OR TWITTER!
Once your business has 15 or more employees, you are subject to abide by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Title VII “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sex”. The word sex in this statement includes gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
Since gender identity is included in Title VII, employers who must abide by Title VII must also abide by the new Transgender Bathroom Access Law.
So what is the law?
- Employers must allow employees to access a bathroom that matches their gender identity. So if you employ Joe who identifies as Josephine, you cannot stop Josephine from entering the women’s bathroom.
- Employers must allow access to a common bathroom if it is available to all other employees. This means if you have a designated men’s and women’s bathroom, you cannot force a transgender employee to use a separate or single use bathroom. If they choose to do so on their own, that is OK.
- Employers cannot request proof of any medical procedure in order to grant access to a designated bathroom. No Dr.’s note here.
PLEASE NOTE: The comfort level of other employees is not considered an acceptable defense for not abiding by this rule. Noncompliance will be deemed discrimination.
There is still a big debate based on personal beliefs and there is no secret that some employers will have a hard time accepting this ruling. As stated above, this post is to give you the facts. For more information you can view the EEOC’s Fact Sheet.
Keep in mind that laws can change, so it is suggested you keep up to date with one. As always, it is suggested to consult with an attorney if you have any further questions.