New laws relating how an individual self-identifies from a gender perspective are now in place and worth noting on both the west and east coasts. In California, under a new law signed two weeks ago by California Governor Jerry Brown, businesses that have single-user bathrooms must make those facilities gender-neutral. Those “single-user facilities” are defined as a “toilet facility with no more than one water closet and one urinal with a locking mechanism controlled by the user” and businesses must identify it as an all-gender facility. The law takes effect on March 1, 2017 and will be enforced by those responsible for code enforcement. If a business only had one restroom, wasn’t it just called the restroom??
Back on the east coast, the Massachusetts Gender Identity Protection law, which prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation on the basis of gender identity, became effective on the 1st of October. Employers have long been prohibited from gender-identity discrimination in Massachusetts, but these new provisions now expand that coverage to the broad category of “places of public accommodation.” The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) has issued a draft guidance explaining the provisions as well as the application of the new law.