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OSHA supports restroom access for transgender employees

June 2, 2015
by Julia Brown
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a guide that provides employers with best practices regarding restroom access for trangender workers. Developed at the request of the National Center for Transgender Equality—an OSHA Alliance partner that works collaboratively with the agency—the core principal of the guide is to provide all employees with access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

Many companies have implemented written policies to ensure that employees have access to appropriate sanitary facilities, but what's impactful about this publication is the core belief regarding gender identity. For example, it says that someone who identifies as a man should be permitted to use men’s restrooms and someone who identifies as a woman should be permitted to use women’s restrooms.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s Sanitation standard requires that all employers under its jurisdiction provide workers with sanitary and available toilet facilities in order to prevent adverse health effects that can result if toilets are not available when employees need them.

Along with a description of best practices, the publication informs employers of federal, state and local laws that reaffirm the principle of providing employees with access to restroom facilities based on gender identification.

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