Where do transgender employees pee?

Are these bathroom bills in violation of Title VII? (File photo)

by Allison Andrea
Special to The Gayly

With all the current bills being placed before governors and for the population to vote on, many people are not aware of what is being done in the aspect of violations of laws.

The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) is one of those agencies that administer laws and develop rules to help govern the employment of individuals throughout the United States. States like North Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama are placing regulations on the books that are in violation of these laws.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been challenged as to what defines ‘sex’. In a memo dated Dec. 15, 2014 from Attorney General Eric Holder, he says gender identity falls within the realm of sex discrimination.

The memo states, in part, “The most straightforward reading of Title VII is that discrimination ‘because of ... sex’ includes discrimination because an employee's gender identification is as a member of a particular sex, or because the employee is transitioning, or has transitioned, to another sex.”

Nowhere in this memo does it say that a person must complete the gender change to be listed under gender identity.

As per the EEOC, an employer cannot deny an employee equal access to common restrooms corresponding to the employee’s gender identity, and the employee cannot condition this based on the employee providing proof of surgery or medical procedures.

The employer cannot avoid the requirement to provide equal access to a common restroom by restricting a transgender employee to a single-user restroom instead (though the employer can make a single-user restroom available to all employees who might choose to use it).

Those that are enforceable by the EEOC are federal government agencies, state and local government, employment agencies or a labor union. If the company has 15 or more employees, they are also enforceable under the EEOC.

The questions now come in - is this in some degree a violation of the EEOC under Title VII? Where do transgender employees pee?

I know that in most places when an employee is working they use the restroom that is available within reasonable walking distance from their area of work. When I think of all the schools, state buildings, county offices, or other places of business where there are 15 or more employees, I do not see how these laws are being allowed, as this is a Federal law not a municipality, city, county, or state law.

States are not allowed to overwrite the laws that are set forth by the federal government. In some states they may have additional restrictions that have to be done before being allowed to do something, such as the Brady Bill, where you have to wait 72 hours before purchasing a gun in California – but this does not remove the person’s right to purchase a firearm, yet it has additional restrictions of how to get one.

Of course, it is up to the courts to defeat these unconstitutional laws, but I think the states cannot be allowed to continue passing and drafting ‘bathroom bills’ that allow for discrimination against the transgender community. This is a violation and should be automatically unenforceable by the federal government.

The laws of the land are there to protect people and to allow for equality of the people. This does not mean that it has to be fair, enjoyable, or easy to manage. The laws are written and decided by the people in voting elected officials into office.

The one thing that we have to remember is that if you do not like the law, you still have to obey it. You would not be able to tell a judge that you were doing 60 in a 55 zone and get away with it, as you broke the law.

These bills that are being passed and introduced are calling for a violation of law, and it has to end.



The Gayly - 5/4/2016 @ 4:09 p.m. CDT