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There is perhaps no better example of this than what happens when transgender people need to use the bathroom. They may not feel safe using a restroom that matches their gender identity, or they may be prohibited from doing so by formal or informal school and workplace policies and Hidden Cameras and the Law.

Using public bathrooms can be down right traumatic for gender non-conforming individuals. Gender-neutral bathrooms can make a huge difference. Currently the school is saying that they don't need to add gender-neutral bathrooms that are accessible to the whole student body because they have the nurses office bathroom (which is only available upon request and gets labeled as the 'freaks' bathroom), this is not good enough. In Washington state the law states that a transgender person is allowed to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, but at school I have been bullied and kicked out of the boys bathroom then refused help by the office, I say it's time to shut down this bullying so that everyone can feel safe going to the bathroom.

New Bathroom Rule: It’s Worse Than We Thought

Last week, news broke about a new rule passed by the Washington State Human Rights Commission creating a statewide mandate that businesses must allow men into women’s bathrooms and locker rooms if they say they are a woman.

But as details have become available, it appears the final version of the rule is actually worse than the proposed rule. Here are some of the “highlights”:

1.     Mandate on Schools as Well as Businesses

While the draft rule imposed a mandate on every business in the state, it provided discretion for schools to deal with each case on a case-by-case basis.

However, the final rule removed any discretion for school officials and mandates that all schools must allow boys into the girl’s locker room if they claim to be a girl.

2.     Women will be removed from the women’s restroom. Naked men will not.

The rule states that it is illegal to ask someone who is confused about their gender to use a separate facility for the benefit of women and children who might be uncomfortable.

However, once a man begins to undress in the women’s locker room a person who “expresses concern or discomfort…should be directed to a separate or gender-neutral facility.”

So, all you women who are uncomfortable with the naked guy over there, “Please come with me and leave him alone.”

3.     The rule bans lots of speech

In addition to prohibiting reasonable accommodations that recognize the public’s right to privacy along with the bathroom needs of the transgendered, this rule targets a wide range of speech.

It is illegal to ask “unwelcome personal questions about an individual’s sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, or transgender status.”

The commission provides no guidance to the public about how they are supposed to know which questions are unwelcome before they ask them.

It is also illegal for a business to deliberately “misuse” someone’s preferred pronoun. If a man believes he is a woman, but you refer to him as a “he” anyway, he can sue you.

However, you should be careful not to ask questions about which pronoun he prefers. Remember, if that’s an “unwelcome question” he can sue you for that.

It is also now illegal to use “offensive names, slurs, jokes, or terminology regarding an individual’s sexual orientation or gender expression or gender identity.”

The fact that “offensive” is an undefined and completely subjective term that provides no guidance to the public about what they can and cannot do is apparently lost on the commission.

The best advice may be to just stop speaking. As we all know, someone is offended by everything.

Frequently Asked Questions

As the public wrestles with how to respond to this, here are some of the most frequent questions we have been asked in the last few days.

1.  Is this really true?

Very few other media outlets have covered this story. That has led a lot of people to wonder if there isn’t some kind of mistake. Sadly, there is no mistake. Other news outlets have began to cover the story here, here, and here.

2. What will happen if I violate this rule?

The Human Rights Commission has the authority to issue fines and create a range of orders intended to “eliminate the effects of an unfair practice and prevent the recurrence of the unfair practice.”

The rule specifically states that businesses and schools open themselves up to civil liability for violations of any of their new rules.

3. Who made this rule anyway?

The Washington State Human Rights Commission was created to help enforce the Washington State Law Against Discrimination. There are five members who are appointed by the Governor and are not subject to election. You can find them here.

While rule-making authority is frequently delegated to agencies for the purpose of enforcing laws the legislature passes, the concern is that a policy of this magnitude and scope far exceeds what the legislature intended or the public expected when the non-discrimination law was passed.

4.  What can I do?

While the Human Rights Commission has authority delegated to it by the legislature, the legislature has the authority and responsibility to correct mistakes made by agencies or commissions.

You can contact your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them all at one time by clicking here.  If we know your address, this tool allow you to email them all at once.

5.  Isn’t this outrage just much ado about nothing?

If you believe a rule of this kind would never be exploited by people with bad intentions, simply search for Jason Pomares, Norwood Smith Burnes, or Taylor Buehler on the search engine of your choice.

Burnes exposed himself to children in a Walmart restroom in 2010 while Pomares dressed as a woman and snuck into a Macy’s bathroom to videotape women in 2013.  Buehler wore a bra and wig and slipped into a bathroom and locker room in 2012 to watch women at Everett Community College. All three men were arrested.

In addition, ChristopherHambrook sexually assaulted multiple women in a Toronto women’s shelter while “identifying” as a woman.

Sexual predators look for opportunity. This provides it.

Everything we do is made possible by friends like you.  If you can to help restore rational bathroom policies, we’d be grateful.

Washington State Human Rights Commission +Chapter 162-32 WAC LAW 2015


and implements the sexual orientation and gender expression and gender

identity discrimination protections of RCW 49.60.030, 49.60.180, and

49.60.215 and provides guidance regarding certain specific forms of

sexual orientation and gender expression and gender identity discrimination.

NEW SECTION This chapter interprets WAC 162-32-020 Leave policies and reasonable accommodation.

(1) Leave.

for medical or health reasons, the employer shall treat leave requests

to address medical or health care needs related to an individual's

gender expression or gender identity in the same manner as requests

for all other medical conditions. For example:

(a) If an employer provides paid sick leave for periods of disability

that require medical leave, the employer must provide paid sick

leave for periods of disability related to an individual's gender expression

or gender identity that require medical leave;

(b) If the employer's policy requires a medical provider's statement

to verify the leave period as a reasonable accommodation, a medical

provider's statement may be required to verify the leave period as

a reasonable accommodation when the disabling condition is related to

the individual's gender expression or gender identity, however, an employer

may not inquire if the leave is related to gender expression or

gender identity or gender transition, nor can the employer require

that the note specify if the leave is related to gender expression or

gender identity or gender transition;

(c) If the employer's policy permits the retention and accrual of

benefits, such as seniority, retirement, and pension rights, during

the leave period for other disabilities, the policy must also permit

such accrual of benefits during leave for disabling conditions related

to an individual's gender expression or gender identity;

(d) If an employer allows an employee to use shared leave for

disabling conditions, the employer must apply the same policies and

procedures for disabling conditions related to an individual's gender

expression or gender identity.


accommodation for a disability when the disability is related to

the individual's gender expression or gender identity, absent undue

hardship to the employer. Such reasonable accommodation includes, but

is not limited to, medical leave for medical and counseling appointments,

surgery, and recovery from surgery that are related to gender

reassignment procedures and treatments. An undue hardship as a reason

for denying an accommodation in situations involving disabilities related

to gender expression or gender identity shall be analyzed in the

same manner as with accommodations for any other disability. To the

extent consistent with personal medical information connected to other

disabilities, personal medical information connected to disabilities

related to a person's gender expression or gender identity must be

kept confidential.

(3) Nothing in this section is intended to suggest that a person's

sexual orientation or gender expression or gender identity itself

is a disabling condition.

NEW SECTION When an employer grants leave or time off of work to employees Reasonable accommodation. An employer shall provide reasonable WAC 162-32-030 Employee benefits and privileges.

and equal basis.

employer must be consistent between all employees and equal for all

employees, regardless of the employee's sexual orientation or gender

expression or gender identity. For example, it is an unfair practice


(a) Provide health insurance coverage to an employee's opposite/

different sex spouse but to fail to provide health insurance coverage

to an employee's same sex spouse (except in situations where

such a rule is prohibited or pre-empted by federal law.)

(b) Provide parental leave or bonding time for the father of a

child newly born or adopted into a heterosexual relationship, but fail

to provide the same parental leave or bonding time to the parent of a

child newly born or adopted into a same-sex relationship.


benefits, provided formally or informally including, but not

limited to, health club memberships, discount programs, training,

staff retreats, company gatherings and parties, and use of company vehicles

or other company services, shall be provided on an equal basis

to all employees regardless of the employee's sexual orientation or

gender expression or gender identity. If the benefit or privilege is

extended to the employee's opposite/different sex spouse, it must be

extended to an employee's same sex spouse as well.

NEW SECTION(1) Consistent Employee benefits provided in whole or in part by an Other benefits and privileges of employment. All other employee WAC 162-32-040 Harassment.

individual's sexual orientation or gender expression or gender identity

is prohibited. Sexual orientation or gender expression or gender

identity harassment in employment is offensive and unwelcome behavior

serious enough to affect the terms and conditions of employment and

which occurred because of an individual's sexual orientation or gender

expression or gender identity, and can be imputed to the employer.


not limited to, the following:

(a) Asking unwelcome personal questions about an individual's

sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, transgender

status, or sex assigned at birth;

(b) Intentionally causing distress to an individual by disclosing

the individual's sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity,

transgender status, or sex assigned at birth against his or her


(c) Using offensive names, slurs, jokes, or terminology regarding

an individual's sexual orientation or gender expression or gender


(d) The deliberate misuse of an individual's preferred name, form

of address, or gender-related pronoun (except on legally mandated documentation,

if the individual has not officially obtained a name


(e) Posting offensive pictures or sending offensive electronic or

other communications;

(f) Unwelcome physical conduct.


harassment or harassment based on gender expression or gender

identity in a place of public accommodation is offensive and unwelcome

behavior serious enough to alter the individual's experience at the

place of public accommodation, or severe enough that the individual

has no choice but to leave the place of public accommodation, which

occurred because of the individual's sexual orientation or gender expression

or gender identity, and can be imputed to the place of public

accommodation. In schools, such harassment is offensive and unwelcome

behavior serious enough to interfere with a child's access to educational

opportunities, which occurred because of the child's sexual

orientation or gender expression or gender identity, and can be imputed

to the school.

NEW SECTION(1) Harassment. Harassment based on an Prohibited conduct. Prohibited conduct may include, but is Harassment in a place of public accommodation. Sexual orientation WAC 162-32-050 Dress and grooming standards. (1) Standards allowed. Covered entities may require standards of dress or grooming

that serve a reasonable business or institutional purpose, such as

promoting safety, developing a company identity, or projecting a professional,

positive public image.


to dress or groom in a manner that is not consistent with

that individual's gender expression or gender identity.

NEW SECTION Prohibited standards. Covered entities cannot require an individual WAC 162-32-060 Gender-segregated facilities. (1) Facility use. All covered entities shall allow individuals the use of gender segregated

facilities, such as restrooms, locker rooms, dressing

rooms, and homeless or emergency shelters, that are consistent with

that individual's gender expression or gender identity.

In such facilities where undressing in the presence of others occurs,

covered entities shall allow access to and use of a facility

consistent with that individual's gender expression or gender identity.


gender identity.

to use a gender-segregated facility that is inconsistent with

that individual's gender expression or gender identity, or request or

require an individual to use a separate or gender-neutral facility.

(a) If another person expresses concern or discomfort about a

person who uses a facility that is consistent with the person's gender

expression or gender identity, the person expressing discomfort should

be directed to a separate or gender-neutral facility, if available.

(b) Any action taken against a person who is using a restroom or

other gender-segregated facility, such as removing a person, should be

taken due to that person's actions or behavior while in the facility,

and must be unrelated to gender expression or gender identity. The

same standards of conduct and behavior must be consistently applied to

all facility users, regardless of gender expression or gender identity.


entities are encouraged to provide options for privacy, such as single-

use gender-neutral bathrooms or private changing areas, that are

available to any individual desiring privacy. Cannot require use inconsistent with gender expression or A covered entity shall not request or require an individual Provision of options encouraged. Whenever feasible, covered

Hidden Cameras and the Law

There are a lot of questions concerning hidden cameras, including if recording video with a hidden camera or spy camera is legal. Hidden camera laws vary by state. We answer common questions business owners and homeowners have regarding the use of covert surveillance cameras and the laws.As a business owner and employer, can I use hidden cameras to record video in the workplace?

While State and Federal Government laws regarding the use of hidden cameras in the workplace are less clearly-defined than covert surveillance for home use, it’s generally acceptable to use spy cameras to record video in public places—including places of business, restaurants, hospitals, convenience stores and retail stores.

It’s also generally legal to record video at public gathering spaces, including town squares and parks, and on city streets, as well as shopping malls. However, expectation of privacy laws apply—for example, it’s illegal to use a hidden camera to record video in public bathrooms, locker rooms, hotel rooms and other private areas.

If you are an employer or small business owner, it’s generally legal to use covert cameras in the workplace, without having to legally notify employees of the presence of hidden cameras.

If you are an employer and business owner of a large enterprise that employs union workers, you can follow the guidelines established by the National Labor Relations Board, regarding using hidden cameras in the workplace. Since the State and Federal Government laws are less clearly defined, employers can work with the appropriate trade unions to establish rules governing the use of hidden security cameras at a large corporation that employs union workers.

And, similarly to placing hidden cameras for use in public places, it’s advisable to consult with a lawyer before installing the hidden cameras in your place of business.As a homeowner, is it legal to record surveillance video with a hidden camera in my home?

Hidden camera laws vary by state; however, it’s generally legal to record surveillance video with a spy camera, nanny cam or hidden camera in your home without consent of the person being recorded. The use of hidden cameras is generally acceptable in common areas of the home, but not acceptable where subjects have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms and bedrooms.

To ensure your state allows the use of hidden cameras, it’s best to research the specific laws provided by your state. It’s also important to note that it is never legal in the United States to use hidden surveillance cameras to record video to be used for malicious intent or blackmail.As a business owner, is it legal to record audio with a hidden camera or covert audio recording device?

The laws regarding recording covert audio are much more established than the laws regarding covert video surveillance. In general, the law defines covert audio devices as anything that is intentionally designed to covertly intercept oral communication. Each state has its own laws regarding the use of covert audio. However, federal law, known as the USC (United States Code), supersedes state law.Day/Night 30' IR Color Smoke Detector Hidden Camera

State and federal laws state that it is currently legal for law enforcement agencies to record audio for covert surveillance applications for official duties as a government agent without the consent of the party being recorded.

If you are a business owner, using a common camcorder with a built-in microphone by itself is completely legal. However, when the camcorder is concealed in something that is designed for covert use, using the covert device to capture video and audio from a hidden location would be in violation of federal law and many state laws dealing with manufacturing and possession of covert and audio devices.

It is also currently illegal to record audio without the consent of one or both parties being recorded. Recording phone conversations is also illegal without the consent of the party being recorded. Additionally, it is legal for law enforcement agencies to record audio for covert surveillance applications for official duties as a government agent without the consent of the party being recorded.

For more coverage on the topic of covert audio and the law, you can follow this link to our blog post.

If you have questions about covert audio surveillance, it’s strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel prior to the use of audio surveillance. They can provide you with specific information of how the law applies to your specific needs and provide you with a legal avenue for your application.

Washington State may abolish rule forcing businesses to let men into women’s bathrooms

OLYMPIA, Washington, January 29, 2016 – A Republican-led Senate committee narrowly passed a bill that would repeal Washington State's new law requiring public buildings and most businesses to let people with gender dysphoria use the restroom, locker room, and other facilities of their choice.

On Wednesday, the Senate's Commerce and Labor Committee heard from 300 people on both sides of the issue. While transgender activists said the law prevents discrimination, parents and others said they were concerned about the potential of sexual assaults. Some noted that the Human Rights Commission, which approved the so-called "non-discrimination" law, is not a legislative body.

One business owner, Thrive Community Fitness's Paul MacLurg, told legislators that "now I have no good choices" when it comes to protecting women from men who would harass them. He has assigned a private restroom and locker room for transgender people.

Bill sponsor Senator Doug Ericksen described the measure as a "compromise" effort that would allow local jurisdictions to handle the issue on a case-by-case basis. "The state shouldn't have a mandate on men using the women's locker room," he said.

Ramona Calquhoun told The Associated Press that, in addition to opening possibilities for sexual predators, "[e]ven mentioning anything puts you in a legally bad position to get sued."

Transgender activists say repeal would cause more harm than good.

"[V]ery strong laws on the books ... already say it's illegal if people enter a restroom to harass, assault or invade the privacy of other people," Danni Askini, executive director of the Seattle-based Gender Justice League, told The Associated Press on Wednesday

Kathryn Mahan, identified by "a transgender woman" by The Associated Press, told legislators that if they repealed the new law, "it will be possible for anyone who doesn't like me to harass me when I'm using the restroom."

"Tell me, how do I prove that I have female genitals?"

Shortly after the hearing, the committee passed the bill 4-3. It now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

Getting the measure to Governor Jay Inslee's desk is likely to be difficult even if it gets through the Senate. The Democratic chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Laurie Jenkins, says she will not consider the bill.

However, legislators have options to get around the normal legislative process. House Rule 24D, Point 2 allows "[t]hat by motion under the eighth order of business, a majority of the members elected to the house may relieve a committee of a bill and place it on the second reading calendar." That strategy would also face difficulties, as the state House leadership and majority are Democratic.

Washington is also a state in which citizens can use ballot referenda to force consideration of legislation.

Concerned citizens can find their state senators and representatives here.

(J) TRANSGRESSION OF RULES - APPEAL. If any member, in speaking or otherwise, transgresses the rules of the house the speaker shall, or any member may, call the member to order, in which case the member so called to order shall immediately sit down unless permitted to explain; and the house shall, if appealed to, decide the case without debate; if there be no appeal, the decision of the chair shall prevail.
If the decision be in favor of the member called to order, the member shall be at liberty to proceed; if otherwise, and the case shall require it, the member shall be liable to the censure of the house.

Rule 24 - Duties of Committees House committees shall operate as follows:

(A) NOTICE OF COMMITTEE MEETING. The chief clerk shall make public the time, place and subjects to be discussed at committee meetings. All public hearings held by committees shall be scheduled at least five (5) days in advance and shall be given adequate publicity: PROVIDED, That when less than eight (8) days remain for action on a bill, the Speaker may authorize a reduction of the five-day notice period when required by the circumstances, including but not limited to the time remaining for action on the bill, the nature of the subject, and the number of prior hearings on the subject.

(B) COMMITTEE QUORUM. A majority of any committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

(C) SESSION MEETINGS. No committee shall sit while the house is in session without special leave of the speaker.

(D) DUTIES OF STANDING COMMITTEES.(1) Only such bills as are included on the written notice of a committee meeting may be considered at that meeting except upon the vote of a majority of the entire membership of the committee to consider another bill.

(2) A majority recommendation of a committee must be signed by a majority of the entire membership of the committee in a regularly called meeting before a bill, memorial, or resolution may be reported out: PROVIDED, That by motion under the eighth order of business, a majority of the members elected to the house may relieve a committee of a bill and place it on the second reading calendar. Majority recommendations of a committee can only be "do pass," "do pass as amended," or that "the substitute bill be substituted therefor and that the substitute bill do pass."

(3) Members of the committee not concurring in the majority report may prepare a written minority report containing a recommendation of "do not pass" or "without recommendation," which shall be signed by those members of the committee subscribing thereto, and submitted with the majority report.

(4) All committee reports shall be spread upon the journal. The journal of the house shall contain an exact copy of all committee reports, together with the names of the members signing such reports.

(5) Every vote to report a bill out of committee shall be taken by the yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for and against, as well as the names of members absent, shall be recorded on the committee report. Any member may call for a recorded vote, which shall include the names of absent members, on any substantive question before the committee. A copy of all recorded committee votes shall be kept by the chief clerk and shall be available for public inspection.

(6) All bills having a direct appropriation shall be referred to the appropriate fiscal committee before their final passage.

(7) No standing committee shall vote by secret written ballot on any issue.

(8) During its consideration of or vote on any bill, resolution, or memorial, the deliberations of any standing committee of the house of representatives shall be open to the public.

(9) A standing committee to which a bill was originally referred shall, prior to voting the bill out of committee, consider whether the bill authorizes rule-making powers or requires the exercise of rule-making powers and, if so, consider: (a) The nature of the new rule-making powers; and (b) To which agencies the new rule-making powers would be delegated and which agencies, if any, may have related rule-making powers.

(10) Standing committee subcommittees established in Rule 23 have the same powers and duties as standing committees.

(11) Insofar as practicable, testimony in public hearings should be balanced between those in support of and in opposition to proposed legislation, with consideration given to providing an opportunity for members of the public to testify within available time.

The Washington State Senate Rejects Reversal of Transgender Bathroom Rule !

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) Feb.11-2016 — The full Senate has rejected a bill that would eliminate Washington’s new rule allowing transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in public buildings consistent with their gender identity. Senate Bill 6443 failed by one vote, with 25 senators voting Wednesday to reject the measure. In addition to repealing the new rule, the bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale, sought to prohibit the Human Rights Commission from initiating any rule-making procedures related to gender segregated facilities.

Sharon Ortiz, Human Rights Commission director, has said that the new rule was only a clarification of the state’s existing anti-discrimination law. Transgender rights are already protected under an addition to the 2006 Washington Law Against Discrimination. The commission was created by the Legislature and is responsible for administering and enforcing that law.

How Will WA State Transgender Bathroom Law Affect You, Businesses?

With all this talk out of Olympia about the ‘transgender bathroom laws,’ there’s a lot of confusion. What exactly does the new law stipulate? How will it affect businesses or even schools? We take a look at what it says.

*The rules are still being reviewed for final drafts, specific wording etc. But here is the crux of them, as enacted by the Washington State Human Rights Commission the day after Christmas 2015. According to The Daily Signal from the Heritage Foundation: “The rules, adopted by the state Human Rights Commission, make it illegal for business owners to limit sex-specific facilities such as bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms to persons with the anatomical parts of one sex.”

*So, that means a business cannot have restrooms or locker rooms designated ‘Men’ or ‘Women’ only.  More from the Daily Signal: “The rules, which took effect on Dec. 26, apply to businesses with eight or more employees. They also dictate that schools should “allow students to use the restroom that is consistent with their gender identity” and in most cases, give transgender students “access to the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity.”

*So, if a business employs 8 or more people, this will become a requirement. How the commission arrived at the number 8 isn’t known. It will also allow schools to provide students, if they see a need, access to the locker room they most commonly identify with. Unlike businesses, however, the law allows schools to review these situations on a case by case basis.

The rules, according to the Family Policy Institute of Washington, also prohibit a business from creating a ‘third’ or separate facility for such individuals: “The new rule specifically prohibits businesses and schools from creating a separate, gender neutral facility for use by those who prefer not to use the bathroom for their gender.”

*So, if a business owner is wary of allowing people to access bath or locker rooms of the opposite sex, they still must allow persons to use the facility ‘of their choice.’

This situation isn’t brand new, it dates back well into 2014-15. In fact, last summer the YMCA of Kitsap County quietly changed it’s policies to allow transgender men to access women’s locker and dressing rooms.  However, it backfired when the news became public, and numerous families and individuals even cancelled their memberships.

The YMCA then rescinded the policy, but backtracked again, reinstating the transgender locker room procedures. The movement eventually spread to the Human Rights Commission, and now the rules are in place.

The rules are in place now, so it is presumed soon businesses with 8 or more employees will be receiving information, if not already, from the state about how they must designate their restroom and locker room facilities from now on.

A bill in the state House overturning these rules never made it out of committee, and a Senate bill failed to pass by one vote, so the rules-for now-are here to stay.

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