Jon Hyman, who runs the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, dropped a couple of posts last week on employee’s rights to, um, use the bathroom.
He started with a post on the right to a workplace bathroom and related breaks, and followed it up on whether employees have a right to be paid during their bathroom breaks (in case you were wondering, they do).
Of course, bathroom talk has appeared on this blog too, in posts here, for example.
But besides the federal laws on the subject (which state that “Toilet facilities, in toilet rooms separate for each sex, shall be provided in all places of employment”), what about the Connecticut ones? Well, it turns out that our older state laws on the subject have yet to be, ahem, flushed down the toilet.
For example, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-36 mandates that the DOL can require owners of “any foundry in which ten or more persons are employed” to provide for a toilet room. With running water. (In case you were too embarassed to ask, a foundry is a factory that produces metal castings.) That’s not likely to apply to many employers in Connecticut anymore.
Similarly, owners of “tobacco plantations” that have 25 or more employees, must provide private toilet accommodations for both sexes — or be penalized between $20-100 (Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-38.) Of course, while Connecticut still does have a decent shade tobacco crop, you don’t hear a lot about such crops anymore.
Railroad employees — in a statute dating back to 1959 — are similarly entitled to “sanitary” facilities and the Connecticut DOL is to conduct inspections once a year on such sanitary facilities. (Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-38a.)
The Connecticut Department of Labor has also issued some guidelines, such as for Industrial Health Facilities that require that “Toilet Facilities shall be provided” in the facility or nearby.
On a related note, Connecticut did pass a law a few years back that gives members of the public some access to employee restrooms in retail establishments but there’s no requirement that such restrooms exist in the first place.