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Celiac disease patients benefit from restroom access bill

Lana Bandoim's picture

Celiac disease is a complex disorder with patients often suffering from stomach pain, bloating, cramping, diarrhea and constipation. They are often forced to search for bathrooms if they are out in public, but more states are becoming aware of the issues people encounter with employee-only bathrooms. Restroom access bills force businesses to let people with celiac disease and other medical conditions use the facilities or face a fine.


It is a problem some people are not comfortable discussing, but many celiac disease sufferers are forced to urgently search for public bathrooms to avoid embarrassing accidents. Some of them are also dealing with Crohn’s disease and other chronic stomach issues in addition to the celiac disease. Unfortunately, businesses often refuse access to their employee-only bathrooms and leave people desperately searching for an alternative.

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Delaware has become the latest state to have a restroom access bill that prohibits businesses from denying access to their bathrooms if the customer has a serious medical condition. In the U.S., 14 states have similar laws to give people with celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and other conditions the right to use the bathrooms. In most states, the customer is required to show a medical note from a doctor that identifies the disease and the need for urgently using a restroom.

Although some view the medical notes as an unnecessary burden, businesses have argued it prevents abuse of the system. If a business turns away a customer with a legitimate health concern, then it can be fined $100. Some people have started to carry a Can't Wait Card, so they do not have to waste time explaining their medical issues. The law applies to any business with three or more employees, and it does not have to make any other accommodations beyond giving access to the employee-only bathrooms.

Read more about celiac disease:
Dietitian offers gluten-free diet advice for celiac disease
Gluten-free bread maker from Panasonic revealed at CES