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Friday, November 9, 2007

Restroom Access Act aka "Ally’s Law"

While checking out the site crohnsandme.com, I ran across a story about a young girl thats doing huge things named Ally Bain. Ally's story goes like this.

While at a national retail clothing chain store with her mother, she suddenly had to use the restroom. This is something a lot of us have to deal with. While most of us have time to get home, she did not. They quickly ran to a manager to ask to use the employees-only restroom. But Ally was denied access and had an accident in the store. This is something that would simply destroy a lot of us, but not her. As she and her mother drove away, they vowed to never let that happen to anyone again.

With her family, friends, and Illinois State Rep. Kathleen Ryg, Ally worked to get a new law passed in her home state. The law requires businesses to make employee only restrooms available to people with inflammatory bowel disease and other medical conditions such as pregnancy and incontinence.

The law states:
A retail establishment that has a toilet facility for its employees shall allow a customer to use that facility during normal business hours if the toilet facility is reasonably safe and all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The customer requesting the use of the employee toilet facility suffers from an eligible medical condition or utilizes an ostomy device.
  2. Three or more employees of the retail establishment are working at the time the customer requests use of the employee toilet facility.
  3. The retail establishment does not normally make a restroom available to the public.
  4. The employee toilet facility is not located in an area where providing access would create an obvious health or safety risk to the customer or an obvious security risk to the retail establishment.
  5. A public restroom is not immediately accessible to the customer.
The Restroom Access Act has been introduced as a bill in 12 states. Those are Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas. The bill has passed in both Illinois and Texas. I think this is something that should be introduced nationwide. The site has a download link to an advocate toolkit. The toolkit has tons of info on how one can get this passed in their own state. Click here to get this toolkit.

1 comment:

Dannah said...

I have Ulcerative Colitis so it's good to know about this law. I had a little situation today, but unfortunately it was at the United States Post Office rather than a retail establishment. I'm nearly nine months pregnant and had to run to the post office with my three year old. They denied us access to the employee-only restroom and we had to walk down the road to Burger King to use theirs. Thank goodness, we could hold it that long and I wasn't having "stomach problems" with a 1 minute warning. Still, if retail establishments can make this allowances, it seems outrageous that the federal government can't. Do you know of a law or a way around this?

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