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Overview of State & Federal Gender Neutral Bathroom Laws

OSHA recommends that (1) all single-occupancy units be designated gender-neutral; and (2) multiple-occupant facilities become gender-neutral restrooms with lockable single occupant stalls. Due to local regulation (some states require it by law), or by the choice of the business owner/employer, these kinds of restrooms are being installed more frequently.

Washington, D.C. 

D.C. Municipal Regulations 4-802 has adopted a similar regulation that requires single-stall restrooms to have gender-neutral signage. Their municipal initiative, #safebathroomsDC, encourages citizens to actively contribute to making all single-stall restrooms into gender-neutral. Restaurant, bar, or store patrons who notice a single-stall restroom has not been updated with proper signage are encouraged to tweet a picture using the previous hashtag while also tagging the location. 

New York City

It has been illegal in New York City to discriminate against an individual on the basis of gender identity or expression, including denying access to bathrooms, since 2002. However, in March 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio, signed into law that restaurants, bars, and other public places in New York City with single-stall restrooms are required to replace “men” and “women” signage with gender-neutral signage. 


In January 2016, Philadelphia’s gender-neutral bathroom bill went into effect and was one of the last pieces of legislation signed by former Mayor Michael Nutter. This law was in addition to the already existing law stipulating transgender individuals can use whichever bathroom the person feels most comfortable in. The January 2016 law required all local businesses with single-occupancy restrooms update the signage to indicate a gender-neutral bathroom within 90 days or face a fine ranging from $75 to $2,000. 

Federal Law

The supremacy clause (article VI of the Constitution) says that when federal law and state law conflict, the federal law prevails. The gender-neutral bathroom regulations being rolled out are not federal law–each state enacts their own laws, making them separate laws. The ADA is a federal law, which means it should supersede any state law governing a similar regulation regardless what the state law were to say.

If you’re uncertain if your single-stall bathroom is in compliance with your city and federal regulations, contact an expert at Milrose Consultants today.

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