DFEH Issues Guidance for California Employers on Transgender Employees

By June 16, 2016HR, Public Blogs

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing has issued new guidance
for employers of transgender employees on complying with the Fair Employment and Housing
Act.

The guidance makes clear that employers must allow transgender employees access to
restroom, shower, locker room and other such facilities that correspond with their gender
identity. It also suggests that providing individual or unisex restrooms, where possible, can
enhance privacy for all employees.

“Under California law, all employees have the right to use restroom and locker room facilities
that correspond to their gender identity, regardless of their assigned sex at birth,” said Kevin
Kish, Director of DFEH.

The DFEH’s guidance is consistent with an April 2015 decision of the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission under federal law and a June 2015 “Guide to Restroom Access for
Transgender Workers” published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The guidance was issued following a lawsuit involving a transgender individual who had sought
employment at American Pacific Corporation (AMPAC) in Sacramento in 2011. Finding the law
to be unclear at the time, AMPAC made an offer of employment on the condition that the
applicant use shower, locker room and restroom facilities inconsistent with the individual’s
gender identity and expression, unless and until the applicant underwent sex reassignment
surgery. The applicant decided against accepting the job offer.

The lawsuit alleged that AMPAC violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act by engaging in
sex, gender, gender identity and gender expression discrimination and failing to take all
reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination.

As part of a settlement, AMPAC will adopt new policies to allow employees access to the
facilities that correspond with their gender identity. In addition, the company will provide training
to all its California employees.

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