California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Issues Transgender Guidance for Employers

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the agency that enforces California’s civil rights laws, has issued new guidance for employers with transgender employees on how to comply with the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). FEHA prohibits discrimination based on gender, gender identity, and gender expression, among other protected classes. The new guidance, which can be found here, states that employers must allow transgender employees access to restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. In addition, the guidance states that where possible, an employer should provide an easily accessible unisex single-stall bathroom for use by an employee who desires increased privacy. Also, the guidance indicates that employers cannot deny an employee the right to dress in a manner consistent with that employee’s gender identity.

This guidance is consistent with the position the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken and with a June 2015 Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.