As a reminder to Illinois employers, on January 1, 2020 “The Equitable Restrooms Act” took effect, requiring all single-occupancy (or one-person) restrooms in a place of public accommodation or public building to be identified as all-gender and designated for use by no more than one person at a time, or for family, or assisted use. This means that any commonly used signage representing “women” or “men” must be removed and replaced with gender-neutral signage.
Many employers are wondering – does this law apply to us? Most likely. The Illinois Human Rights Act broadly interprets a “place of public accommodation” as including but not limited to: an inn, hotel, motel, or other place of lodging (with limited exception); a restaurant, bar, or other establishment serving food or drink; a motion picture house, theater, concert hall, stadium, or other place of exhibition or entertainment; an auditorium, convention center, lecture hall, or other place of public gathering; a bakery, grocery store, clothing store, hardware store, shopping center, or other sales or rental establishment; a laundromat, dry-cleaner, 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 health care provider, hospital, or other service establishment; public conveyances on air, water, or land; a terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public transportation; a museum, library, gallery, or other place of public display or collection; a park, zoo, amusement park, or other place of recreation; a non-sectarian nursery, day care center, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate school, or other place of education; a senior citizen center, homeless shelter, food bank, non-sectarian adoption agency, or other social service center establishment; and a gymnasium, health spa, bowling alley, golf course, or other place of exercise or recreation.
Even if your business is not specifically identified in the above list, you should assume it qualifies by virtue of the non-exclusive “including but not limited to” language, or by falling within the catch-all bucket of “other service establishments.” If you have not already done so, make sure to swap out those long-standing signs ASAP! Health officers and inspectors are permitted to examine facilities to ensure compliance. Per the Act, additional rules for implementation are forthcoming.