2013-03-22 15:10:06 - WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 22, 2013): Nomura, a giant Japanese financial services company, is seeking to violate New York City's "potty parity" law designed to insure that there are sufficient restroom facilities for females, apparently by arguing that its sex discrimination in the past, and its plans to discriminate in the future, justify a departure from the law applicable to everyone else, notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf, the man who has been dubbed the "Father of Potty Parity."
"No American company would dare ask for this" kind of special accommodation and exception from the law, says Robert Brubaker, program manager for the American Restroom Association.
Nomura claims that because its current office workforce is overwhelming male, it should allowed to set aside fully 75% of its "water closets and lavatories" for male use only, even though New York City's potty parity law, which Banzhaf helped inspire, requires equality – with at least as many female toilet facilities as male toilet facilities. But that argument is the height of arrogance, says Banzhaf.
"Whatever the laws on sex discrimination may be in Japan, in New York City Nomura cannot discriminate against women in hiring, and it's hard to see how
the overwhelming percentage of its office employees would be male unless the company violated the law.
In short, they seek to justify defying the law regarding toilet facilities by their past apparent defiance of laws prohibiting sex discrimination. This is like the adult who kills his parents, and then seeks special treatment because he is now an orphan," argues Banzhaf.
A second problem is that providing overwhelmingly male toilet facilities will tend to perpetuate any illegal sex discrimination, since the company may seek to give preference in hiring to males – and to justify that illegal conduct – by claiming that there aren't enough toilet facilities for new female employees.
While the owners of the building promise to comply with the 50%-50% toilet facility law if Nomura ever vacates, they apparently plan to keep the toilet inequality in place indefinitely, even as Nomura substantially expands its workforce.
“Let’s not reward sex discrimination with more sex discrimination,” argues Banzhaf.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
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