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New Law Requiring Businesses To Make Employee-Only Bathrooms Accessible for Crohn’s Patients on 10/30
Lenora E. Houseworth
(646) 943-7415; firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release
Five Tips for Easy Implementation for Businesses
October 22, 2012- Needham, MA- On October 30, 2012, the Restroom Access law officially goes into effect, which will require all businesses in Massachusetts with at least three employees to allow inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) sufferers to use an employee-only restroom if public facilities aren’t available.
“Anyone who suffers with these diseases knows firsthand how difficult and traumatic it is to be denied access to a public restroom when they need it,” said Richard Geswell, President of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. “Companies that enforce this law are doing a simple gesture that can make a big impact on someone’s life. It should be looked at as more of an act of human decency than an act of legislation.”
The law is designed to provide relief and ease the fears of people who suffer from Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other bowel diseases — painful chronic conditions that cause inflammation of the gastro-intestinal track, which cause severe abdominal pain and diarrhea, resulting in an urgent need for immediate access to the most conveniently located bathroom.
As the leader in IBD patient support services, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) have provided tips to help businesses prepare for the Restroom Access law:
1. Make employees, particularly managers, aware of the new law so they are prepared if an IBD patient comes to their establishment. Failure to comply with the law could result in $100 for the first violation and $200 for a second violation.
2. Patients with IBD need access to your bathroom for a medical emergency; it is not a matter of convenience.
3. Be sure your bathroom is well-stocked, clean and safe.
4. Make sure all personal and pertinent company supplies are not visible and are safely secured away from obstruction.
5. Be sure your bathroom is easily accessible.
Approximately 1.4 million people nationally — 30,000 of them in Massachusetts —suffer from IBD, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, which estimates that approximately 10 percent of IBD sufferers are under the age of 18. This past August, Massachusetts became the 13th state to pass the bill into law. CCFA is working to have the Restroom Access law passed in all 50 states. IBD patients are advised to contact CCFA’s Massachusetts local chapter or their gastrointestinologist for a copy of a patient card to show as proof of their condition.
Additional requirements of the law include:
• The customer must suffer from an eligible medical condition or use an ostomy device and must provide documented evidence of the existence of the condition from the customer’s physician. Eligible medical conditions are Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or any other medical condition that requires immediate access to a restroom facility.
• The law only applies if 3 or more employees are on duty at the time of the request.
• Access need not be provided in areas which would create an obvious health or safety risk to the customer or an obvious security risk to the establishment.
• An establishment shall not be civilly liable except for negligence.
• An establishment is not required to make any physical change or improvement to an employee restroom facility.
• Access need not be provided if there is an immediately accessible public restroom.
About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 80 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends going to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org) and the American Institute of Philanthropy (Charitywatch.org). For more information, contact the New England Chapter at 1-800-314-3459 or http://ne.ccfa.org, join CCFA NE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccfane, or follow CCFA NE on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ccfa_newengland. Also visit the National website www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org.
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Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 80 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends going to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (give.org) and the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org).