Ep 44 – OSHA & the EEOC’s Take on Transgender People in the Workplace

EEOC’s Take on Transgender People in the Workplace

Two transgender stories made headlines in early June. First, the big news about Caitlyn Jenner and her unveiling on the cover of Vanity Fair, and second, OSHA released a bathroom best practices guide for transgender workers and their management teams. These two events are forcing Human Resources to discuss transgender at work, and that’s a powerful thing.

I remember back in the early 2000s I was working in HR for a major corporation when I was approached by an employee who was going through a transgender transition from male to female. I blogged about my experience in 2011. There was no handbook, and certainly no best practices available for how to handle it. This and more are some of the topics we are tackling today.

Episode 44: Talking About Transgender People in the Workplace with Mary Wright (@hrgazette)

Mary Wright, employment law attorney walks us through the Occupational Health and Safety’s (OSHA) new best practices guide. Mostly focusing on bathroom access, OSHA provides guidelines focused on health and safety of employees and customers. Mary walks us through the basics of the guide which you can access below. Mary, as well as myself that this is a huge step in the right direction especially since California schools as of last year are allowing their students as young as kindergarten to select the bathroom to use they identify with. It’s called the School Success and Opportunity Act.

Mary and I delve into the important topic of gender identity and how this is separate but related topic to transgender identity. We also talk about ways employers can handle an employee who makes them aware they are transitioning particularly how they can provide support, if the change qualifies under FMLA and how to annouce the transition to team members of the company.

One important thing to note is changes to Title VII and how transgender employees are now protected. The EEOC has taken note and is looking for new opportunities.

The Sensitive But Important Issue of Transgender People at Work

This topic is an important but sensitive one to discuss. As an employment law attorney who has a background as an HR practitioner and worked on a number of high profile cases in California, I’m honored Mary has taken the time to talk with me and also you. Her insights can provide HR as well as managers insights into this sensitive but important subject. You can connect with Mary Wright on LinkedIn.



*A special thank you to my production team at Total Picture Radio.


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. mspatricia says

    Working and performing at workplace is never a matter of gender, may it be male, female or transgender. Equality is important in every aspect of day to day life and transgenders are equally capable of accomplishing things at workplace and achieve as other genders.


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