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What is the legality of an employer regulating/prohibiting bathroom breaks during an 8 hour shift in Wisconsin? Seeking advice.

Madison, WI |

Employer is a big box store warehouse facility. I was told by a manager that I may not use the rest room unless it's during one of two 15 minute breaks, or the 30 minute lunch over an 8 hour shift. Later it was said by a senior manager that emergencies are different, but when "patterns arise it becomes a grey area" I was told. Throughout an 8 hour shift, I use the bathroom about 2 - 4 times during non-break times, for apx 3 minutes travel time included without interrupting production (get relieved by coworker). Looking for legal input, and the legality of the whole situation. Also, I have a doctors note on file with human resources now, stating I am to use the restroom as needed per doctors orders, as a result of an altercation with a manager regarding regularity of bathroom breaks.

Attorney Answers 1


An employer must provide an employee with reasonable accommodations for disabilities. If you have a doctor's order for your restroom breaks due to a medical condition, you may be protected under the ADA and WFEA. Assuming that your manager knows about your doctor's note(s), their prohibition of your bathroom breaks could be a violation of the anti-discrimination statutes and accommodation mandate.

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