Following up on my prior potty posts here and here, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has recently settled a lawsuit involving a transgender employee which involved claims that the employee, Britney Austin, was not permitted to use the women’s restroom.
Ms. Austin will receive $115,000 as part of the settlement. While this case was about more than which bathroom Ms. Austin was permitted to use while at work, the consent decree between the EEOC and employer specifically provides that the employer must ensure unhindered bathroom access for its transgender employees and that those employees are permitted to utilize the bathroom that corresponds to their presenting gender.
While lots of folks have strong opinions about the bathroom and who gets to use which one, employers are asking for trouble (and litigation) if they do not have up to date policies, procedures and training on this issue. So not wait for your first transgender employee or customer or client before addressing this issue in your handbook.
Dori K. Stibolt is an attorney with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP. Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims. You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or firstname.lastname@example.org.