Can an employer penalize you for going to the bathroom more times than is company policy?

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Can an employer penalize you for going to the bathroom more times than is company policy?

Can your employer tell you that you cannot go to the bathroom or give you a limitation on how many times a day or week you may leave your workstation to go?

Asked on May 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, an employer may do this. And if you do not have an employment contract protecting or guarantying your employment (such as by limiting the grounds for discipline or termination), an employer could demote, reduce the pay of, suspend, or even terminate an employee who it feels leaves his or her post too often for any reason, including to go to the bathroom. There is one exception: if the frequent bathroom trips are caused by a medical condition which is severe as to constitute a disability (something with a pervasive and not-easily remedied affect on normal life functions), the employer would likely be required to make reasonable accomodations to it--such as allowing more frequent trips--so long as the work gets done and it doesn't disrupt the workplace.


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