A new publication from OSHA offers guidance to employers on best practices regarding restroom access for transgender workers.
OSHA’s Sanitation Standard requires all employers provide employees with sanitary toilet facilities, so that workers won’t suffer adverse health effects if restrooms aren’t available when needed.
The publication, Guide to Restroom Access for Transgendered Workers, says the key is gender identity. All employees should be permitted to use the facilities that correspondent with their gender identity, according to OSHA.
“The core principle is that all employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity,” said OSHA administrator David Michaels.
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.
The guide states:
“Segregating [transgender employees] from other workers by requiring them to use gender-neutral or other specific restrooms, singles those employees out and may make them fear for their physical safety. Bathroom restrictions can result in employees avoiding using restrooms entirely while at work, which can lead to potentially serious physical injury or illness.”
Such adverse effects include urinary tract infections and bowel and bladder problems.
OSHA’s publication includes which federal, state and local laws affirm the principle of providing employees with access to restrooms based on gender identification.
The guide was developed at the request of the National Center for Transgender Equality, an OSHA Alliance partner that works with the agency to develop materials to protect employee safety.