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Illinois Equitable Restrooms Act

As of January 1, 2020, all single occupancy-one person restrooms in a "place of public accommodation or public building" need to be identified as all-gender accessible and designated for use by no more than one person at a time or by a family unit. Simply stated, this means that the commonly used signage representing that a restroom is for use by women and/or men must be removed and replaced with gender-neutral signage.

Many employers may be wondering-does this law apply to us? And the answer to that question is most likely. The Illinois Human Rights Act broadly interprets the term "place of public accommodation" to include, but not to be limited to, the following:

  • An Inn, Hotel, Motel, or other place of lodging;
  • Restaurant, Bar, other established entity serving food or drink;
  •  Motion Picture House, Theatre, Concert Hall, Stadium, or other place of Exhibition or Entertainment;
  • Auditorium, Convention Center, Lecture Hall or other place of public gathering;
  • Bakery, Grocery Store, Clothing Store, Hardware Store, Shopping Center or other Sales or Rental Establishment;
  • Laundromat, Dry Cleaning Facility, Bank, Barber Shop, Beauty Shop, Travel Service, Shoe Repair Service, Funeral Parlor, Gas Station, Office of an Accountant or Lawyer, Pharmacy, Insurance Office, Professional Office of a Healthcare Provider, Hospital, or other Service Establishment;
  • Public Conveyances on Air, Water or Land;
  • Terminal, Depot or other Station Used for Specific Public Transportation;
  • Museum, Library, Gallery, or other place of Public Display or Collection;
  • Park, Zoo, Amusement Park or other place of Recreation;
  • Non-Sectarian Nursery, Day Care Center, Elementary, Secondary, Undergraduate or Post Graduate School or other place of Education;
  • Senior Citizen Center, Homeless Shelter, Food Bank, Non-Sectarian Adoption Agency or other Social Center or Establishment;
  • Gymnasium, Health Spa, Bowling Alley, Golf Course or other place of Exercise or Recreation.

Obviously, the Illinois Human Rights Act broadly defines "place of public accommodation" which means that almost every employer is covered. Even if your business is not specifically identified in the above list, it will probably still be covered (because of the "including but not limited to" language).

There is no doubt in the Author's mind that this stunning piece of legislation will result not only in increased problems for Employers but, the potential of increased litigation.

Questions? Contact attorney Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at [email protected]

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