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What does California say about workplace restrooms?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2021 | Employment Law

Employers in California must provide employees with appropriate restroom facilities. Specifically, the Fair Employment and Housing Act requires all employees to have access to a safe bathroom regardless of gender expression or identity.

Review these provisions to ensure your workplace complies with FEHA standards.

Available restroom facilities

Employers may not require workers to provide proof of gender identity or medical procedure to use gender-based restroom facilities, locker rooms, or showers. In the case of facilities that accommodate more than one user, the employer can confidentially ask reasonable questions regarding gender to ensure safe access.

When an employer only offers gender-based, multi-user facilities, FEHA requires the addition of alternative facilities so all workers can maintain privacy. Examples include shower curtains in shared locker rooms, staggering showering schedules and toilet stalls with locks and doors.

Additional concerns

Employers may not require any work to use a specific restroom or facility. For example, you can not ask a transgender employee to use only restrooms with single stalls. These facilities must be available to any worker regardless of gender or the reason he or she seeks private facilities.

FEHA also outlines requirements for restroom signs. Workplaces must label single-stall facilities as available for use by workers of all genders. Appropriate signage could read “All-Gender Restroom,” “Gender-Neutral Restroom” or “Unisex Restroom.”

In addition to providing safe access to facilities, employers can take other steps to increase the comfort and acceptance of employees of all genders. Examples include revisions to dress codes, attention to gender-inclusive language and sensitivity training for workers at all levels.

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