EEOC’s publication of guidance on bathroom access for transgender employees:
- Eric Meyer’s Employer Handbook Blog: Not letting transgender employees use the restroom of their gender identity is sex discrimination
- Phil Miles’s Lawffice Space: EEOC issues transgender employee fact sheet
- Robin Shea’s Employment & Labor Insider: EEOC posts fact sheets on LGBT discrimination, transgender issues
- Dan Schwartz’s Connecticut Employment Law Blog: Bathroom Access Rights Guaranteed By Title VII
- The Russ Runkel Report: EEOC & OSHA on transgender bathrooms access
Here’s the bottom line.
Like OSHA said in similar guidance nearly a year ago, it is illegal to require an employee to use the bathroom of his of her gender of birth, or a single-user bathroom. Instead, an employer must permit a transgender employee to use the bathroom of the gender with which the employee identifies.
Employers, answer me this. Why do we care? If an employee genuinely believes she is female (regardless of whether she was born a male), why do we care if she uses the women’s restroom? This issue is one of the most glaring examples I’ve ever seen of a solution in search of a problem.
I’m certain I have readers who are thinking, “I don’t want those freaks in my bathroom.” Well, this post isn’t for you (or maybe it’s especially for you). You are doing exponentially more harm to the mental well-being of your transgender employee(s) if you force them into the wrong bathroom or segregate them in a single-gender bathroom, than you are doing to your other employees by having them share their bathroom with their trans co-workers. Any other answer to this issue is bigotry, period. And, in 2016, we should be well beyond institutional bigotry of any kind.