I go the the bathroom after I eat, I have to poop. Can my company fire me over this?
Generally, yes. If you have a diagnosed medical condition that requires a lot of bathroom use that might qualify as a disability, and your employer is large enough to be subject to the ADA (15 employees) or a similar state law in Florida, you might have some protection. If it's something you can't control, you might want to talk to a doctor as well as an employment lawyer in your area.
Answers to questions are meant to be general only, are not intended to be legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. Answers to questions are based on NY law, and the laws of other states may create different rights and obligations.
If you genuinely need to use the toilet facilities, then your employer should allow you. Employers are supposed to allow employees reasonable access to the facilities. This standard, as interpreted by OSHA, is supposed to allow for flexibility, based on an individual employee's needs, even an employee who has a medical condition that requires more frequent use of the toilet facilities.
Here is some information from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration about bathroom breaks:
This answer is provided for guidance only. DO NOT rely on it as legal advice. We DO NOT have an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney in your area for a one-on-one consultation before pursuing any action or making any decisions.
I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. The following is information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. However, you should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.
As mentioned, your need to use the restroom after eating may be an indication of a physical impairment. If this impairment makes it more substantially more difficult for you to function in normal life, then it will probably meet the definition of "disability" under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq. (ADA). Certainly if you need to use the restroom so frequently that it cost you your job, then there is even more likelihood that you have a "disability." If your employer has at least 15 employees, then you may be entitled to more frequent bathroom breaks as a reasonable accommodation.
Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA: http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=disability-discrimination-in-employment.
You will need a letter from your physician stating what the disability is (irritable bowel syndrome, malabsorption, Crohn's disease, etc.); the date the condition will resolve or that it is permanent; the way in which the condition interferes with things that ordinary people do (which includes elimination); and what you need because of the condition (more frequent restroom breaks). By law, the employer must provide you with the reasonable accommodation unless it is an "undue hardship." An undue hardship exists when the accommodation is outrageously expensive or disruptive to the employer's operations -- neither of which is likely in this case.
Especially if you have a permanent medical condition, you should be prepared for this issue to arise in every place you work. You should learn the law and how to protect yourself. One of the best things you can do is consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney in your state.
Employment law is complicated and fact specific. You may wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney in your state. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in your area, please go to the web site of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.nela.org, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.
Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and in many cities. On the NELA web site, you can look at the list of affiliates. Some attorneys will be listed in the affiliate membership list, some in the national organization membership list, and some in both. Being listed in one or both lists should not influence your selection because attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase the listing in the national directory. Each local affiliate has its own rules for listing.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
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