People living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis often suffer from debilitating urgency to use a restroom immediately, or risk having an embarrassing accident. This causes many IBD patients to worry about whether or not they will have access to a restroom in public. Unfortunately, not all public retail establishments have public restrooms available, and there have been incidents in which IBD patients have been denied access to employee-only restrooms.
What is the Restroom Access Act?
The Restroom Access Act (also known as Ally’s Law or the Crohn’s & Colitis Fairness Act) seeks to ensure that people with certain medical conditions have access to employee-only restrooms when a public one is unavailable. Specifically, the state-based legislation:
Ensures access for persons with certain medical conditions, including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, as well as those with ostomies
Generally applies when the following conditions are met:
- When the retail establishment has two or more employees currently working
- When the employee-only restroom is in a location that is both safe to the patient and not an obvious security risk to the retail establishment
Often requires the patient to present a document signed by a medical professional attesting to their disease
- States often allow patients to present the Foundation’s “I Can’t Wait” cards
Explore the interactive map below to see what your state has done to address Restroom Access:
- Restroom Access Act enacted
- Active Legislation
How did the Restroom Access Act get created?
It all started when Ally Bain, a Crohn’s patient from Illinois, was denied access to a restroom in a department store, resulting in an embarrassing accident. Watch her story:
How can I advocate for the Restroom Access Act in my state?
Learn more about how you can be a champion of a restroom access law in your area: