On May 24, 2023, Governor Jared Polis signed the Amenities for All Genders in Public Buildings Act (the “Act”) into law. The Act applies to all publicly accessible buildings by January 1, 2024, and all buildings accessible by employees or enrolled students by July 1, 2025. The Act defines publicly accessible as any indoor or outdoor space or area open to the public and does not include private offices or workspaces not generally open to customers or public visitors.
The Act’s requirements apply to any new construction or restroom renovation in a qualifying public building owned, operated, or controlled by the state, county, or municipality.
First, any building covered by the Act must:
- Provide a non-gendered single-stall restroom or a non-gendered multi-stall restroom where the restroom is accessible to the public;
- Ensure that any single-stall restroom is non-gendered;
- Allow for the use of a multi-stall restroom by a person of any gender if the restroom meets requirements laid out in the International Plumbing Code (“IPC”), adopted into the Colorado Plumbing Code and Colorado Fuel and Gas Code; and
- Construct the restroom in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
Additionally, any building covered by the Act must provide any caregiver, regardless of gender, caring for an infant access to a safe, sanitary, and convenient baby diaper changing station where a restroom is accessible to the public as follows:
- If the building has only gender-specific restrooms, there must be a changing table in each restroom;
- If there is a non-gendered single-stall restroom is available, there must be at least one changing station in that restroom. Public entities are encouraged to provide changing tables in the gender-specific restrooms in this instance, but not required;
- If there is a non-gendered multi-stall restroom available, there must be at least one changing table in that restroom. Public entities are encouraged to provide changing tables in the gender-specific restrooms, but not required; and
- In the alternative, public entities must provide an easily accessible location with equivalent privacy and amenities as a restroom.
In all cases, the changing stations must be maintained, repaired, and replaced as necessary to ensure safety. The changing stations must be cleaned at the same frequency as the restroom in which it is located or the restrooms on the same floor in the same space in which the changing table is located.
Beginning on July 1, 2024, and no later than July 1, 2026, a non-gendered restroom must be labeled with a non-gendered pictogram. Any restroom with a changing station must have signage with a pictogram void of gender indicating the presence of the changing station. There must be signage at or near the entrance of any building covered by the Act indicating the location of non-gendered restrooms and changing stations. If the building has a central directory indicating the location of offices, restrooms, and other building facilities, the directory must include non-gendered pictograms indicating the locations of non-gendered restrooms and changing stations.
Projects may be exempt for the following reasons:
- Compliance with the Act would cause failure to comply with building standards governing accessibility; or
- If the project received approval before the Act’s effective date; or
- The building is designated as a certified historic structure. The Act defines a certified historic structure as a property certified by the state historical society or an entity other than the property owner authorized pursuant to state law to register historic properties.
Failure to comply with the Act is a discriminatory or unfair practice, and employees may file a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (“CCRD”).
There are several key takeaways from the Act:
- Plans for construction in buildings covered by the Act may need to be modified to comply with the new restroom, changing station, and signage requirements;
- Some construction may be exempted from the Act’s requirements; and
- Buildings covered by the Act may need to update their cleaning schedules to comply with new changing station cleaning requirements.
The Amenities for All Genders in Public Buildings Act is codified as C.R.S. §9-5.7-101 et. seq. The Act goes into effect ninety days after the final adjournment of the General Assembly.