The United States has made enormous strides toward equal workplace treatment for all Americans regardless of their sex. However, those identifying as a gender different from their sex at birth still face discrimination in the workplace.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), transgender employees should be allowed to use the restroom associated with their gender identity. Unfortunately, some workplaces still make it hard for employees to access the facility that corresponds with their gender identity.
Can an employer force you to use a different restroom?
No. In 2017, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) adopted regulations prohibiting employers from interfering with what restrooms employees prefer to use (based on gender identity).
If the company or business has only single-user toilet facilities, employers must post a sign indicating that the facility is for all genders. In workplaces with multi-stall toilet facilities, the employer cannot force workers to use a restroom that conflicts with their gender identity.
These gender issues are still relatively new in terms of employment law, and there is bound to be confusion over what is and is not allowed. Employers and co-workers may make mistakes that impact transgender and nonbinary employees. If the behaviors continue, creating a hostile work environment, employees have legal options at their disposal.
It is time to stand up for your rights
The time for employees to stand against workplace discrimination is now. The state is watching as gender identity laws change how we work and live. Set a good example for the next generation by showing it is possible to protect your rights at work. Learning more about gender identity and other forms of workplace discrimination is an ideal first step.