How should employers approach the question of which toilet facilities employees who are undergoing gender reassignment can use?
Under the Equality Act 2010, employees are protected from direct and indirect discrimination because they propose to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment. These provisions do not specifically address access to single-sex toilet facilities for employees who are undergoing gender reassignment. However, guidance produced by the Government Equalities Office on The recruitment and retention of transgender staff states that a trans person should be able to use facilities appropriate to his or her acquired gender when he or she starts to live in the acquired gender role on a full-time basis.
The employer should discuss with the employee when he or she would like to start using the facilities of his or her acquired gender, along with related issues such as how to communicate with other staff about his or her transition.
Where space allows, employers could consider providing some gender-neutral toilets (marked by a WC sign) for any employee to use. This could help to create a more inclusive environment for trans employees in general.