Break / Bathroom

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Break / Bathroom

Is it legal for an employer to make the
employees use the break time to go to the
restroom?

Asked on November 5, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandates that “employers allow employees prompt access to bathroom facilities” and that “restrictions on access must be reasonable and may not cause extended delays". In other words, it basically requires that employers not impose unreasonable restrictions on the use of restrooms. In your case, you are provided break time but only break tie for restroom use. Whether or not this is deemed adequate under OSHA guidelines is a matter for a local employment aw attorney to review, so you should consult directly with one. That having been said,  the ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) might require extended or more frequent breaks as a "resonable accomodation".  So, for example, if an employee has a disability (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome, a colostomy bag, etc.), an employer would have to modify its limited bathroom breaks policy to accommodate the disability unless it could be shown that doing so would impose an undue hardship. 


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