California Expands Transgender Protections With Gender-Neutral Restroom Law
On September 29, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1732, which will require single-user restrooms in California business establishments, government buildings, and places of public accommodation, to be universally accessible to all genders, and identified by signage as all gender. A “single-user” restroom is defined by statute as a toilet facility with no more than one water closet and one urinal with a locking mechanism controlled by the user. The new law, which takes effect on March 1, 2017, authorizes public inspectors or building officials to check for compliance during any inspection.
The signing of AB 1732, considered the most progressive statewide restroom access policy in the nation, follows a trend of greater protections for gender identity. Earlier this year, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing issued guidelines for protecting transgender rights in the workplace. Similarly, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has taken the position that all employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity.