CARSON CITY, Nev. — A proposal in the Nevada Legislature would require businesses to provide access to employee restrooms to customers with bowel diseases that cause them to require immediate access to the facilities or face a fine.
Eligible medical conditions include Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) and other illnesses that require the use of an ostomy device.
The bill would only apply to businesses with three or more employees. If it were to become law, the bill would remove any liability from the business in the event of an emergency. The bathroom user would also be required to have either a signed statement from a doctor or “an identification card that is issued by a nonprofit organization” to provide eligibility.
In submitted testimony to the Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services, several sufferers of bowel diseases wrote about the importance of such legislation.
“One time I was with a friend at a record store, and felt the urge to use the restroom,” one person with ulcerative colitis wrote. “This record store was located within a part of town that had very limited access to public restrooms, and the signs displayed all throughout the store made it abundantly clear that I needed to find a restroom elsewhere. This record store was located in a strip mall with several other small businesses, and as I squirmed from one business to the next, each one had signage in their front windows saying, ‘No Public Restroom.’ I was panicking, ‘am I going to make it?’ Soon enough the inevitable happened, and I soiled myself in public. I eventually made my way over to a fast food restaurant that was across the street, and was granted access to their restroom to begin cleaning up.”
“If public restrooms were made available to IBD patients, like myself, it would allow IBD patients to enjoy being out in public, while having the ability to seek relief in the event of a flare-up,” another person wrote in submitted testimony.
Irritable bowel diseases can present symptoms such as uncontrollable diarrhea, pain and bleeding.
The proposal carries a $100 fine.