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OSHA addresses employer responsibility regarding transgender workers

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration released a guideline June 1, 2015 addressing workplace restrooms and access for transgender workers.

The “Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers” (Guide) addresses an employer’s responsibility under OSHA standards to provide transgender workers access to sanitary toilet facilities.

“The core principle is that all employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels, in a press release announcing the publication of the Guide.

The Guide advises: “OSHA has consistently interpreted this standard to require employers to allow employees prompt access to sanitary facilities. Further, employers may not impose unreasonable restrictions on employee use of toilet facilities.”

It also explains that workers should be able to access the restroom for the gender with which they identify and that the workers should choose which is the appropriate restroom option for them.

The Guide offers best practices and suggests options such as single occupancy gender neutral facilities or multi-occupancy gender neutral facilities that have individual locking stalls.

It also explains best practices don’t require workers to “provide medical or legal documentation of their gender identity” to access a particular restroom. Workers also can’t be asked to use facilities that are an “unreasonable distance or travel time” from their worksite.

Finally, the Guide notes other relevant federal, state, and local laws addressing this issue. The Guide can be accessed here.


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