Bathroom access an issue for transgender employees
In a new report, a federal agency is addressing the rights of transgender people in the workplace.
In its four-page guide, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) brings up bathrooms, in particular, recommending that employers provide transgender workers with access to restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
“Restricting employees to using only restrooms that are not consistent with their gender identity, or segregating them from other workers by requiring them to use gender-neutral or other specific restrooms, singles those employees out and may make them fear for their physical safety,” the report states.
While this recommendation does not have the weight of law, OSHA pointed out that several federal entities – including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice – have interpreted prohibitions on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit workplace discrimination based on gender identity or transgender status.
And while in Florida, transgender workers are not specifically protected in Florida, it’s a growing issue nationwide, meant to address a real problem, according to a Chicago Tribune article. In a 2011 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 90 percent of the 6,450 transgender people surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job.
Twenty-nine percent said that they had lost a job due to being transgender, and 25 percent reported they were denied access to appropriate bathrooms.