• Emergency Regulations Regarding California's Gender-Neutral Restroom Signage Approved
  • September 28, 2017 | Authors: Richard S. Rosenberg; Justin Youngs
  • Law Firm: Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt LLP - Encino Office
  • On August 14, 2017, California's Office of Administrative ("OAL") law approved emergency regulations that address a conflict between current regulations governing gender-neutral restroom signage. The emergency regulations amend Regulations which went into effect on July 1, 2017.

    Under the existing rules, employers with single-occupancy bathroom facilities must use gender-neutral signage for the bathrooms. The emergency regulations amend this provision to exclude certain workplaces with "non-water carriage disposal facilities" - i.e. toilets that do not flush with water - from the signage requirement. The workplaces excepted include construction jobsites, agricultural operations, hazardous waste operations and emergency response, and general industry, with general industry defined as all "places of employment" except where a state or federal agency exercises health and safety jurisdiction.

    The impetus behind adopting the emergency regulations was the conflict between the gender-neutral signage requirement and Cal/OSHA regulations governing the industries noted above. Current Cal/OSHA regulations require those employers to maintain a certain number of separate toilet facilities for men and women if the employer has non-flushing toilets. When the gender-neutral signage requirements went into effect on July 1, employers with non-flushing toilet facilities were forced to choose between complying with Cal/OSHA regulations requiring separately marked facilities, or complying with the new signage requirements. The emergency regulations rectify this conflict.

    The emergency regulations are now in effect for 180 days (August 14, 2017 to February 13, 2018). During this period, the agency will address making the emergency regulations permanent.

    A copy of the emergency regulations can be found here ( LINK ), and the Fair Employment and Housing Commission's explanation for proposing the regulations can be found here ( LINK ).