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OSHA issues bathroom recommendations for accommodating transgenders

Restaurants and other employers should assess their employee bathrooms to ensure transgender workers do not feel slighted or disrespected, OSHA advised this week.

The federal regulatory body issued recommendations on accommodating employees on the basis of gender identity rather than physical characteristics, an approach it identified as a best practice. “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,” regardless of their biological sex, the agency said.

Toward that end, it advised employers to either maintain a “single-occupancy gender-neutral” bathroom used by all orientations, or a multiple-occupancy unisex bathroom with lockable stalls.

OSHA stressed that it was recommending rather than requiring the bathroom set-ups, and noted that other options could also be acceptable to transgender workers.

“Regardless of the physical layout of a worksite, all employers need to find solutions that are safe and convenient and respect transgender employees,” OSHA said.

It urged employers not to require proof of a cross-gender identification, like a letter from a doctor. It noted that it is illegal to deny access to a gender-specific restroom to someone who identifies with that sex.

The recommendations do not extend to bathrooms provided for customers. But it is common within the restaurant industry to allow employees to use the facilities that are also used by guests.

The full advisory is available here

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