Let’s Talk About Bathrooms and Work

Beth Dean 10.31.23
2023-10-31Nextep blog - Bathrooms at work

It’s not the most savory of topics, but still merits discussion. All of your employees will need to use the bathroom during work. Here’s a potty primer, if you will.

Disability and Bathrooms

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has clear regulations on bathroom accessibility in the workplace. Much of the guidance revolves around making the bathroom accessible to people with mobility issues. Guidelines include grab bars, an entrance wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, the size of the stall, dimensions of the sink, and more.

Bio Breaks

Bathroom breaks are another matter to consider and could be tricky. As we’ve discussed, breaks throughout the day are allowable and compensable when 20 minutes or fewer. But how many bathroom breaks are too many? And what if they run long? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) gives us guidance. 

Of course, we as employers aren’t in the business of tracking our employees’ bathroom time. There’s no federal standard on how many washroom breaks to provide, but OSHA encourages dual responsibility. It is the employer’s job to provide unfettered access to washrooms, and the employee’s duty to not abuse that privilege. 

Excessive bathroom breaks could also indicate a disability or medical condition. In these cases, enter into the collaborative process for finding a reasonable accommodation. You can contact your HR Business Partner at Nextep or access the Job Accommodation Network for guidance.

Gender Identity and Bathrooms

Employers often wonder which bathroom transgender or nonbinary employees should use. The answer for all employees: whichever one(s) they want.

OSHA has weighed in on this topic too. Under OSHA’s sanitation standard (1910.141), employers must provide unrestricted, sanitary, and promptly accessible restroom facilities to employees. Restricting the use of restrooms or segregating employees to gender-neutral or other employer-dictated facilities may make transgender employees feel singled out, physically unsafe, or can lead to health problems and infections that arise by not having prompt access to a restroom.

Making a gender-neutral restroom available is not unreasonable, but mandating that certain employees only use that designated facility is

The employee should be allowed to use the facility that corresponds with their gender identity, but ultimately, according to OSHA, “The employee should determine the most appropriate and safest option for him- or herself.” Regardless of gender identity or biology, choosing and using the bathroom is a personal choice.

Also on Nextep

March 1, 2024 is Employee Appreciation Day! Every year, businesses across the globe take a moment to pause and honor the backbone of their success: their employees. Employee Appreciation Day, usually celebrated on the first Friday of March, is a chance to express sincere gratitude and show these hardworking individuals how much they mean.  Appreciating […]
Read more
Be Aware of These Red Flags For Incorrect Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Claims The IRS is urging businesses that claimed the ERC pandemic-era credit to review their eligibility as a key deadline approaches.  Here are 7 ERC red flags to watch out for that could delay your claim: Claiming for too many quarters: Qualifying for […]
Read more
Remember that new independent contractor rule coming soon? It’s the one that makes it harder for businesses to call a worker a “contractor.” As a reminder, that big change kicks in March 11, 2024. Why should you care? More workers might become employees. This means benefits like minimum wage, health insurance eligibility, paid time off, […]
Read more
What Businesses Need to Know Last week, we discussed collaborating with employees who request religious accommodations during Ramadan. This week, we’ll look at some of the nuts and bolts of religious accommodations at work and the impact of last year’s Supreme Court case, Groff v. DeJoy. The Groff v. DeJoy decision, as we covered when […]
Read more
Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and reflection for Muslims, begins on Sunday, March 10, 2024, and end on Tuesday, April 9. As an employer, understanding your Muslim employees’ needs during this time fosters a supportive and inclusive workplace.  It’s important to consider that rejecting flexible requests without a valid reason could be seen as […]
Read more
Workplace safety starts with good records. Every company must maintain records of worksite injuries and illnesses throughout the year. This recordkeeping is a legal requirement mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This quick guide simplifies the process, outlining your responsibilities. The Basics: Companies must document worksite injuries and illnesses for the entire […]
Read more
Big Change for Gig Work and More The Department of Labor (DOL) has revised its rules for classifying workers as independent contractors, making it more difficult for businesses to do so.  Effective March 11, 2024, this change impacts workers across the US and could have significant implications for businesses of all sizes. New rules make […]
Read more
Heads up, businesses! Beginning February 1, many workplaces must post a summary of work-related injuries and illnesses from the previous year. This simple one-page form, called the OSHA 300A, gives employees easy access to safety info specific to their worksite. Here’s the OSHA 300A rundown: Who needs to post? Companies with 11 or more employees […]
Read more
2023 and 2024 have seen several updates to federal law that impact your workplace labor posters. Are yours up to date? The new year allows you to check it out and avoid fines! Updates that affect your posters include (but are not limited to): PUMP Act for Nursing Mothers EEOC Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) […]
Read more
At least 22 states and nearly 40 local jurisdictions will increase their minimum wage rates on January 1, 2024. Below is a summary of these changes and guidelines to help you comply with your minimum wage requirements. As a reminder, in cases where federal, state, or local regulations differ, the employer must use the law […]
Read more
Essential Updates for Employers in the New Year Heads up, employers: there are several new workplace laws and regulations in 2024.  The new year is just around the corner, bringing a wave of changes for employers nationwide. These regulations aim to create a fair and supportive work environment that attracts and retains top talent. Federal […]
Read more
Confused by the ever-changing SUTA (State Unemployment Tax Act) landscape? We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 2024 SUTA wage bases for each state, making it easier for you to stay compliant and manage your payroll taxes effectively. Simply find your state in the table below and discover the applicable wage base for the upcoming year! […]
Read more

Download Our App


Download the Nextep Mobile App in Apple iOS or Google Play