California Expands Restroom Access
California Expands Restroom Access

California retail businesses must prepare to open employee-only restrooms to members of the public to accommodate medical conditions including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, other inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

On September 30, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1632 into law. This bill requires a place of business that is open to the general public for the sale of goods and that has a toilet facility for its employees to allow any individual who is lawfully on the premises of that place of business to use that toilet facility during normal business hours, even if the place of business does not normally make the employee toilet facility available to the general public.

Businesses are subject to a civil penalty for a willful or grossly negligent violation of this requirement. However, businesses may not be sued for a violation as the bill does not create a private right of action.

Individuals with specified medical conditions have the right to access non-public restrooms if a public restroom is not immediately accessible to the individual, and as long as providing access would not create an obvious security risk to the place of business.

Businesses may require the individual to present reasonable evidence of an eligible medical condition or use of an ostomy device. That proof can include a signed statement by a licensed physician. The California Department of Public Health will also provide a form on its internet website that may be provided as evidence of the medical condition.


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