Should my wife have to share a restroom with a man in her work place just because he wants to be a woman?

UPDATED: Aug 23, 2011

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Should my wife have to share a restroom with a man in her work place just because he wants to be a woman?

My wife works in a shipping department for an electronics company in TX. There is a new employee that looks like a man in woman’s clothing. Last week this employee was using the men’s restroom but today the employee came in the woman’s restroom with my wife. She went to her supervisor with her concerns and was told that the employee was using the woman’s restroom for now on and if anything more was said by any employee they would be fired. Is this legal?

Asked on August 23, 2011 Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I this country there are employment laws requiring employers to make reasonable accomodations for employees given certain impairment or physical conditions know as the "Americans With Disabilities Act."

However, what you have described is not a specific disability of a co-worker who may be going through a gender change and whether or not this change warrants reasonable accomodations under the above stated law is subject to debate.

The point is that if your wife's employer wishes to allow this employee to use the woman's bathroom prior to a complete gender change (if that is the situation), then the employer can allow this. However, the employer should create a separate "unisex bathroom" allowing one occupant at a time (male or female) to resolve the situation at work. That way your wife's and any other female's concerns are addressed.

Your wife should contact the local labor department in your county about her concerns since her employer does not seem to want to address them further.

Good question.

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