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OSHA Issues Guidance on Transgender Workers and Restroom Access

OSHA requires employers to provide all employees with sanitary and available toilet facilities under the sanitation standard 1910.141.  On June 1, OSHA published “A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers,” which was developed at the request of the National Center for Transgender Equality.  The core principle underlying this publication is that all employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms which correspond to their gender identity.   The guide includes a description of “best practices” for employers and includes information on understanding gender identity issues.  The full text of the publication can be found at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3795.pdf.  We have been aware of the EEOC’s position on this issue – that gender identity discrimination is covered by Title VII and employers cannot discriminate against employees for failing to conform to a gender stereotype.  Given the emphasis by the EEOC and now OSHA on the protection of transgender employee rights, employers should review policies involving this important emerging issue.  Supervisor and manager training programs, dress codes, bathroom access policies, and nondiscrimination policies should be reviewed and revised, accordingly.  Please contact a member of our labor and employment section with questions and for further information.

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