Following recent news reports about Target’s bathroom controversy and North Carolina’s bathroom law, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued a Fact Sheet outlining its views on bathroom access rights for transgender employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. You can view the Fact Sheet here.
According to the EEOC, Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination also prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Consequently, denying a transgender employee access to a common restroom corresponding to the employee’s gender identity constitutes sex discrimination. An employer cannot require an employee to provide proof of surgery or any other medical procedure in order to use a particular restroom. Nor can an employer avoid the requirement to provide equal access to a common restroom by restricting a transgender employee to a single-user restroom (although an employer can make a single-user restroom available to all employees who choose to use it). The hostility or discomfort of other employees cannot overcome the right of a transgender employee to use the restroom corresponding with his or her gender identity. Moreover, contrary state law is no defense. Sorry, North Carolina.
May 10, 2016 at 7:55 am
It seems we make laws to accommodate the few at the expense of the many these days. The federal government has put organizations in a no win situation where they are required to make accommodations, while ignoring the rights and privileges of the many. There are many women (and men) who do not want to use the same restroom as someone who appears to mirror the opposite sex. And what is to stop someone from going into the restroom of the opposite sex to take advantage of the situation and put the man or woman that is in there at risk?
I certainly agree that discrimination is not a good thing, but only as it relates to treating everyone with dignity and respect. And unless the federal government is willing to provide the funds for organizations to remodel their restrooms to better adjust to these changing times, they need to start thinking of the greater good of society and stop expecting organizations / States to just go along with whatever they determine to be in the best interest of a select few.