Can taking away bathroom access count as discrimination?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2021 | Employment law

If you are pregnant, you should look forward to the birth of your child without worrying about how your employer will treat you. If your pregnancy does not keep you from doing your job, your employer should not take any actions to make your work life difficult, such as keeping you from using the bathroom when you need to.

A workplace should provide bathroom access on a reasonable basis to all of its workers. A lack of bathroom breaks can cause health problems. It can be especially troublesome for pregnant mothers and could count as job discrimination.

Bathroom access may avoid health issues

If your employer does not permit you bathroom breaks, you could experience serious health problems. According to the CDC, not going to the bathroom can result in a urinary tract infection. If the UTI becomes serious, you may have to go to the hospital. You may also develop kidney problems, incontinence, or other issues with your bladder or your bowels.

Bathroom access may sustain work performance

Even if you avoid serious health problems, you need bathroom breaks because otherwise you may have trouble working. Not being able to relieve yourself can make you uncomfortable enough to divert your attention from your job. You may miss performance standards, and if your job involves safety risks, you may hurt yourself or a fellow worker because you cannot focus.

Why pregnant mothers need bathroom access

All of the aforementioned problems may involve any employee, but you as a pregnant worker have a special need to use the bathroom. Your pregnancy may produce hormone changes that necessitate more bathroom visits. Your fetus may press against your bladder. You might also need bathroom breaks to take medicine to handle aspects of your pregnancy.

Employers should be accommodating to pregnant workers if they can still perform their jobs. It could constitute a breach of federal law if your employer takes actions against you while you are pregnant.