California has long been at the forefront of prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. Last week, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing issued a new brochure titled “Transgender Rights in the Workplace.” Here are the key takeaways:

Copyright: karenr / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: karenr / 123RF Stock Photo
  • There are social transitions and physical transitions. The former can involve changes in name and pronoun, bathroom usage, and activities. Physical transitions involve medical treatments. An employee doesn’t have to take any particular steps in a gender transition to be protected.
  • “Employers should not ask questions about a person’s body or whether they plan to have surgery ….”
  • If you have a dress code, it must be non-discriminatory. If an employee identifies as female, she gets to dress in the same manner as other female employees.
  • An employee gets to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds to his or her gender identity. Where possible employers should provide a unisex single-stall bathroom for any employee who wants more privacy. However, no employee can be required to use the single-stall bathroom.

There are no big surprises here since many of the same issues were addressed in the Department of Labor’s “A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers.” Rumor has it that that publication may soon be adapted for a feature-length Hollywood movie.