Does anyone know if it is illegal for a shop-keeper to refuse to let us use the staff toilet?

Angela - posted on 09/21/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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Can anyone help me? I've heard that it is illegal for anyone to deny a pregnant woman's request to use a toilet? For example, if you are in a shop which does not have a customer toilet, are they required by law to allow you to use the staff toilet? Thanks :)

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Stephanie - posted on 09/24/2010

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Yes it is illegal for a shop to refuse a pregnant woman the washroom. Holding urine in for a long period of time is not good for baby and if something happens to baby u are entitled to sue. every place i have worked they have instilled into the employees that pregnant woman are to use the washroom. the employee must go to the back room where the washroom is. and if they woman steals that just means the employees are not watching the store properly

Sarah - posted on 09/21/2010

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Hi. I've always been under the impression that in the uk it is illegal to refuse a pregnant lady to use any toilet, I've always been aloud one one occasion I asked to use and got refused soon as I mentioned I wiz pregnant they went ahead and let me use staff toilet. They will try to refuse u.

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27 Comments

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Tracy - posted on 09/24/2010

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Why would it be illegal? Terri is absolutely correct. Public restrooms must adhere to certain ADA codes. If you use a non-public restroom in a shop and get hurt, they can lose their business when you sue and they get fined. The only places that are required to provide public restrooms are food service establishments (to my knowledge).

Terri - posted on 09/22/2010

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Many times the reason you cannot use a non-public bathroom is because it is a city or county code.Public bathrooms many times must be set up certain ways. The shopkeeper can be fined heavily...this depends on what municipality you are in. I have owned businesses and have NEVER heard of anyone being required by law to allow anyone to use a non-public toilet.

Stevana - posted on 09/22/2010

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Call your local police department. they will be able to answer that for you. each city/county/state has different laws

Nicole - posted on 09/22/2010

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If your pregnant it is! ANY place that does not have a bathroom open to the public can NOT legally deny a pregnant women use of their facility.

Kellie - posted on 09/22/2010

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I don't know if it's illegal but it is the nice thing to do to let you use the toilet. I have been in places before when there was no public toilet and my kids had to go and was denied, it may just be company policy. We don't let people who are not our clients use our bathroom.

Julie - posted on 09/22/2010

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i wouldnt say it was illegal but i would say it is down to the common decency of the staff. if its a man refused then it doesnt surprise me as women seem to be generaly more sympathetic to a pregnant woman.

Angie - posted on 09/22/2010

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It's legall and it makes sense. I understand that you wouldn't do it but some people use the bathrooms to hide items they are stealing. Besides, it's one more chore that they are giving their employees - keeping the restroom clean with a much larger number of people using it.

Jeanie - posted on 09/22/2010

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I had been Christmas shopping for an hour with my potty-trained two year old at a large music store when she said she needed to go potty. The store refused their bathroom saying it was for employees only. It was snowing outside. When a two-year old needs to go, they NEED TO GO!

I left the $200 dollars or so of items I had accumlated and was planning to buy, and walked out of the place. I refused to ever step foot in there again and told all my friends. That was 20 years ago.

Alison - posted on 09/22/2010

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It is most assuredly against the laws of human decency. Did you try crying?

Malene - posted on 09/22/2010

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It is the right of the establishment to refuse non customers or employee only washrooms...why should they cover the costs of every person who walks in off the street to use the bathroom? I have 2 young kids so I know it is a pain...but can't blame them!!

Louise - posted on 09/22/2010

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No sorry this is not illegal to refuse you access to a toilet unless they serve food. Most shop keepers will take pity on you if you beg. Mind you there is always a toilet to be found. You are in Scotland so you would find mothercare, any tesco, asda, sainsburys, morrisons, homebase etc. So just pick your shopping trips wisely. There is nothing worse than busting for a wee. You will get used to finding the toilets when you are potty training.

Casey - posted on 09/21/2010

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In Australia the shop keepers do not have to let you use their toilet if you ask weather you are pregnant or not and one of the main reasons is because they're public liablity insurance does not cover you if you slip and fall it only covers you while you are in the actually shop. I know we never used to allow customers to use our staff toilets cause they were upstairs and we weren't covered if they fell down them.

Nikkole - posted on 09/21/2010

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its up to the person that runs the store, they do not have to let you use the toilet.

Carolee - posted on 09/21/2010

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Wow. I've actually enjoyed reading about toilet laws. Very informative. Thanks for the links.

Angela - posted on 09/21/2010

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It seems to me that the insurance does not cover them for accidents suffered by customers using the staff toilet, so they refuse on those grounds...whether it is legal for them to refuse, I doubt :S

Iridescent - posted on 09/21/2010

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Exactly! I had asked about it in our state, and that first reply I posted was exactly what I was told. Yet according to the law for our state, EVERY business must be willing to allow you to use their bathroom. At least the link shows you can report them refusing, and some companies are notorious for it. I really can't blame my kid for taking a dump in a display toilet one day...

Angela - posted on 09/21/2010

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thanks for the info Amy :) ... I can not find anything for the UK re customers using the facilities. I found there is a law that there must be adequate facilities for staff though! Its frustrating as I've heard it said many times that no one can refuse a pregnant woman's request to use their toilet, but can not find anything official :/

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OK, I read that UPC part (the law in my state), so how come so many places have signs stating that their bathrooms are for employees only.... That's not right, right?!

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Thanks for the link! I had NO CLUE there were so many laws about public restrooms. Here's a no-brainer-I'm still laughing to myself:

"The General Assembly recognizes that there are often long waiting periods for the use of restrooms in public buildings and facilities and that such waiting periods are much longer for women than for men due to gender differences in the need to use the restroom and anatomical differences between men and women." ---->REALLY?! Lol!

Angela - posted on 09/21/2010

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thanks Amy, I shudda said - I'm in Scotland...but I am interested to know the law/guidelines for other countries too :)

Iridescent - posted on 09/21/2010

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Here in the US, toilets only need to be provided if it's in a facility that serves food, and to be available to employees at their place of employment (new one there, so this year lots of portapotties on construction sites where before there were none). Perhaps you're in a different country? You didn't state.

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