Last month, we blogged about the new legislation heading your way in 2017. One topic included at https://peoplescapehr.com/new-year-round-need-change-2017/ was restroom facilities. As we wrote there, AB 1732 requires all employers to designate single-user restrooms as “gender neutral facility”. This applies to facilities with one toilet and/or urinal and one sink, with a door that the user can lock from the inside. This legislation follows suit with others we have seen over the past several years as a result of transgender identity and preventative regulations against discrimination in this particular area. Those that follow us regularly will remember that we also blogged about the coming out of Caitlyn Jenner in July 2015, and the effect of this announcement on workplace harassment and anti-bullying prevention policies at work (https://peoplescapehr.com/diversity-in-the-workplace/). Clearly, these issues are not new in their existence, but they are new in the way that HR and workplace legislation are now responding to them.
Betty White, arguably most famous for her work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls, is a known advocate of the LBGT community, and has spoken out about the need for fairness and equality and kindness. White said, “Throughout my career, I’ve always portrayed characters that were humorous, but also weren’t afraid to speak their minds, especially when it came to racy or controversial topics. I think this struck a chord with the LGBT community.” Recently, with the passing of AB 1732 in California, employers will need to be especially cognizant of their restroom facilities and signage, or risk coming up against fines and litigation from employees. “I don’t care whom you sleep with. It’s ‘what kind of a human being are you?’ I don’t understand [why people are anti-gay], it’s such a personal private business and it’s none of mine.” Although this statement from Betty White to Larry King during an interview in 2014 is the opinion of many people these days, one can’t take for granted that minorities now feel protected in the workplace. Employers still need to be aware of the legislation out there to shield employees who are part of a protected group such as the LGBT community, ethnic and racial minorities, religious sects or employees over age 40. Without a dedicated human resources professional on your team, employers have their work cut out for them when it comes to staying abreast of these laws and regulations.
All gender specific signage must be changed to gender neutral signage for these single-user restrooms by March 1, 2017. To find out more about AB 1732, visit https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1732.
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