Restroom Access

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” cardsThis important resource can be provided free of charge to anyone with IBD who may need it. To request a card, please call 888-MY-GUT-PAIN (888-694-8872).

Explore the interactive map below to see what your state has done to address Restroom Access:

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC

  • Restroom Access Act enacted
  • Active Legislation
  • Silent

 

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:

 

Video Length 00:03:15

Ally’s story "My family raised me to just be my own advocate on top of them being advocates. When you're sick you often need to be ready if possible to advocate for yourself, on top of having your strong support network with you." -Ally Bain

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:

More advocacy resources