Effective immediately on March 1st, 2017, all single occupancy restrooms are required to be gender neutral bathrooms with the appropriate signs to display this. The newly formed Equal Restroom Access Act (ERAA) applies to any public place, government office or business center in California.
More About the ERAA
In this context, a single user toilet is a bathroom which has only one urinal and one toilet with a locking system for the user.
According to the act, building officials are made accountable for enforcement of the code. Periodic inspections should be conducted in all commercial establishments by abiding by the Health and Safety Code. Specially appointed inspectors must diligently check for the law’s compliance.
The signs must be in accordance with Title 24 in the Code of Regulations of California. In addition to the gender neutral geometric sign, every restroom must have a designated tangible pattern. These raised letters should be in Braille to point out for the blind.
There is no compulsion to have the signage in words alone. For instance, it can be a visual indication stating, Unisex Restroom or Gender Neutral Toilet or All Gender Bathroom.
Two signs come in the purview of the Gender Neutral Bathroom Laws.
Gender Neutral Bathroom Laws
The first one is a geometrical shape to differentiate whether the restroom is exclusively for men or women or for both. The male washrooms are represented by triangles and its female counterparts by circles. The California Building Code accepts a triangle superimposing a circle as its sole unisex symbol.
The second type of signage to be put up must be a designation mounted on the bathroom walls. This acts as an identification mark for any room that functions as a toilet facility. The sign must basically show if the space is a toilet or not in the first place. Then, it should signal the user whether the restroom is meant for men or women or is gender neutral.
This representation has the option of being illustrated as a pictogram. It is important for the sign board to be perceptible to the sense of touch.
There is no strict regulation to display wall signs on bathroom doorways at all times. Employers must be extra cautious to verify whether the symbols and language used complies with the law. To be on the safer side, it is advisable for building owners to seek clarity through legal advice. It is reported that a large number of public interest litigations have been filed against the absence of such signs.