Bathroom Restrictions???

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about restroom restrictions:

Can an employer place restrictions on what restroom can be used? We have a restroom just a few steps from our workstation but it is also a restroom for the public to use. We were told that we could not use that restroom but had to use one much farther away, down the hall.

Signed, Gotta’ Go Farther

Dear Gotta’ Go Farther:

We make laws about almost everything and there might be federal and/or state laws about distance employees must travel to a restroom, but I doubt it. There are laws as to disability access to restrooms, surveillance of restrooms, public access to employee restrooms, irritable bowel (Crohn’s Disease) access, and. full-time gender equal access. We don/t provide legal advice; however, the best of my information, the only federal require pertaining to your question is that workers have reasonable access to restroom facilities. Might you simply consider it an opportunity to not have to use a restroom that is close to your workstation.

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Sign In Sign Out Restrooms

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about signing in to go to the restroom:

We have a new rule at work. We now have to sign out to use the restroom and sign back in when we return. At present it is only one department. Do they have to sign in and out?

Signed, Signing In

Dear Signing In:

The simple, perhaps too simple, answer to your question is: comply. Employers have no laws preventing them from a sign out sign in rule. We do not provide legal advice, and you can check with your state’s Department of Labor if the matter is of special importance.Apparently, those who make the rules at your workplace have reason to think that time is wasted, and if so that could cut down on time away from one’s workstation. Also it would provide information if employees are misusing the facilities. For example, if there have been complaints as to sanitation, a sign out/in sheet could enable learning who has not shown proper restroom etiquette.My advice is that if and when there is concern about restroom policies and practices, management should take that seriously. Most of all this applies to access and sanitation. Just as it is important for a retail employer to make restrooms clean, available, and reasonably pleasant for the public, that principle should apply for employees.

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