Restroom access for transgender workers subject of new OSHA guide

As a best practice, OSHA recommends that employers allow transgender employees to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity. Additionally, employers should be mindful of any state-specific rules and regulations on this issue, including state non-discrimination laws. HR.BLR.com outlines the core principle of the newly published OSHA Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers.

GenderIdentity

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers to provide 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.

“The core principle is that all employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity,” said OSHA Director Dr. David Michaels in a press release. “OSHA’s goal is to assure that employers provide a safe and healthful working environment for all employees.”

Many companies have implemented written policies to ensure that all employees–including transgender employees–have prompt access to appropriate sanitary facilities. 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.

An article on hr.blr.com, Training, respect answer to gender identity restroom issues, addresses how use of “gender-appropriate” facilities by transgender and transsexual employees has drawn concern from both employees and employers and how the city of Bloomington, Indiana handled the issue.

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 needed.

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