Aug 15, 2019

Illinois passes gender neutral bathroom law

On July 26, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law an amendment to Illinois’ Equitable Restrooms Act that requires, as of January 1, 2020, all single-occupancy restrooms in public buildings or places of public accommodation to be identified as gender-neutral and designed for use by no more than one person at a time or for family or assisted use. A single-occupancy restroom is defined as a fully enclosed room with a lock controlled by the user containing a sink, toilet stall and no more than one urinal.

This law has been promoted as a common sense measure that will “reduce bathroom lines” and “make life easier in general.” It was introduced by Democratic State Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake and was approved unanimously in the Senate and by a vote of 109-5 in the House this spring.

In a written statement, Bush noted, “making single-occupancy restrooms gender-neutral is inclusive, but it also just makes sense. It’s a small change that will make a big impact for thousands of Illinoisans.”

The state law already allows people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.  

Will restrooms need to be resigned?

If an organization is a place of “public accommodation,” its restrooms will have to comply with the law’s requirements. According to the Illinois Human Rights Act, a public accommodation is “a building, accommodation, refreshment, entertainment, recreation, or transportation facility of any kind, whether licensed or not, whose goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations are extended, offered, sold, or otherwise made available to the public”1. This includes restaurants, hotels, department stores, bus and rail stations and theaters.

If you are interested in determining if your business is a place of public accommodation or if you would like additional information about other new employment laws in Illinois, contact one of Chuhak & Tecson’s Employment law attorneys.

This Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. communication is intended only to provide information regarding developments in the law and information of general interest. It is not intended to constitute advice regarding legal problems and should not be relied upon as such.

Client alert authored by: 
Jeralyn H. Baran, Principal

1    775 ILCS 5-101