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Discrimination protections for LGBTQ workers extends to restrooms

It may seem like an odd topic, but it has gained a significant amount of attention in recent years. Members of the LGBTQ community who do not identify with their "biological sex" feel they should have the opportunity to use either restroom or one designated as neutral.

If you fall into this category, then you may be pleased to know that the state of California provides you with certain protections as it applies to restroom use.

There's no federal law, however

Federal law does not protect your right to use a certain restroom while at work. Even so, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did publish certain guidelines for employers who either choose to or must provide you with an option and/or a gender-neutral restroom. You should feel comfortable and safe at work, and this includes even the most private of places -- the restroom. To that end, your employer could do the following:

  • Provide employees with a multiple-occupant, gender-neutral restroom in which each single stall has a lock.
  • Modify multiple-occupant, gender-neutral facilities with more privacy by using flaps or other privacy features on doors and walls from floor to ceiling for more privacy.
  • Convert a single-occupancy restroom into a gender-neutral one.

What your employer cannot do includes the following:

  • Make you use a restroom segregated from other employees.
  • Ask you to provide legal and/or medical documentation of your gender identity.
  • Deny you access to a gender-specific facility in line with your gender identity.
  • Allow the discomfort of other employees to cause your employer to discriminate against you.

California law provides you with protections against discrimination in the workplace based on your gender identity. If your employer fails to accommodate your need to use a certain restroom, you have the right to file a complaint without fear of retaliation. Just as an employer must make reasonable accommodations for other employees, such as those with disabilities or who are pregnant, you deserve the same consideration.

There's support if you need it

If you encounter resistance, retaliation or discrimination from your employer on the subject of restroom use, among other things, you may need some assistance in asserting your rights. An employment attorney experienced in issues relating to the LGBTQ community could prove invaluable in ensuring the protection of your rights.

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