OSHA Publishes Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender WorkersJun 12th, 2015 | By EHS Journal | Category: Health and Safety
From the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers was published by U.S. OSHA on June 1, 2015. The publication provides guidance to employers on best practices regarding restroom access for transgender workers. The guide was developed at the request of the National Center for Transgender Equality, an OSHA Alliance partner that works collaboratively with the agency to develop products and materials to protect the safety and health of transgender workers.
OSHA’s Sanitation standard requires that all employers under its jurisdiction provide employees with sanitary and available toilet facilities, so that employees will not suffer the adverse health effects that can result if toilets are not available when employees need them.
“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. “OSHA’s goal is to assure that employers provide a safe and healthful working environment for all employees.”
The core belief underlying these policies is that all employees should be permitted to use the facilities that correspond with their gender identify. For example, a person who identifies as a man should be permitted to use men’s restrooms, and a person who identifies as a woman should be permitted to use women’s restrooms. According to OSHA, the employee should determine the most appropriate and safest option for him- or herself.
The publication includes a description of best practices and also makes employers aware of federal, state and local laws that reaffirm the core principle of providing employees with access to restroom facilities based on gender identification.
The best policies also provide additional options, which employees may choose, but are not required, to use. These include:
- Single-occupancy gender-neutral (unisex) facilities; and
- Use of multiple-occupant, gender-neutral restroom facilities with lockable single occupant stalls.
Regardless of the physical layout of a worksite, all employers need to find solutions that are safe and convenient and respect transgender employees.
Under these best practices, employees are not asked to provide any medical or legal documentation of their gender identity in order to have access to gender-appropriate facilities. In addition, no employee should be required to use a segregated facility apart from other employees because of their gender identity or transgender status. According to OSHA standards, employees generally may not be limited to using facilities that are an unreasonable distance or travel time from the employee’s worksite.
Image: Blue Background, Robert Proksa, Jaworzno, Slaskie, Poland.