Skip to main content

Can’t a person just pick a bathroom already?!

By May 7, 2012July 23rd, 2018Uncategorized

If your employee isn’t sure which bathroom to use, it may be that the cute little stick figures you posted just aren’t specific enough. OR, it may be that your employee is just . . . confused. Either way, if you’re the employer, it’s your problem. And here’s why . . .

Last month the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission added yet another category to the increasingly long list of protected groups. This time it’s “transgender status”, also known as “gender identity”.  So who exactly is considered a “transgender”?  It’s not as limited a category as you might think. The American Psychological Association says the term refers to any person “whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.”  That might range from anyone who “cross dresses” or appears androgynous to someone who is actually in the process of converting (through hormones and surgery) to the other sex.

Ironically, this EEOC ruling is supposed to alleviate confusion! (Confusion about the law, that is.) Up until now, the EEOC regional offices and state civil rights agencies have been rejecting complaints from transgender workers, assuming “gender identity” was not protected.  Apparently, they were confused. (The EEOC and the agencies, that is.)

In a nutshell: Best to make certain that the motivating factors in your employment decisions – whether perceived or real – are NOT based on a person’s gender – whether perceived or real.