New Unisex Bathroom Requirements Effective March 1

Beginning March 1, 2017, all single-user restroom facilities in California businesses, public accommodations, and state and local government agencies, must be designated as all-gender facilities, accessible to all people, regardless of gender. “Single-user toilet facilities” include all bathrooms that contain, at the most, one toilet and one urinal, and a lock that is controlled by the user. The new law (test available here(link is external)) seeks to increase fairness, safety, and convenience for all people accessing public restrooms. According to the California Senate’s floor analysis of the underlying bill, seventy percent of respondents in a 2013 survey of people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, “report being denied access to or verbally harassed or physically assaulted in public restrooms.” The bill seeks to remove some of the risk associated with using a public restroom by removing the need to choose whether to use a female or male designated restroom in public. Other potential benefits include equalizing wait times for men’s and women’s facilities, allowing equal access to facilities with changing tables, and allowing people to freely access restrooms with caregivers of different genders. Businesses and public agencies with restrooms that meet the definition of “single-user toilet facility” are required to modify male or female signage to indicate that the facilities are accessible to all genders.
If you have questions about how your business can comply with these new requirements, or if you believe you have been discriminated against due to your gender and would like legal assistance, please contact us at Janssen Malloy LLP.