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Are limits on bathroom breaks a form of discrimination?

| Apr 1, 2021 | Employment Law

If you retain the ability and qualifications to perform your job at your workplace while you are pregnant, your employer should not take any steps to make your job difficult. Unfortunately, some pregnant mothers experience discrimination or retaliation. One way this might happen to you is if your employer limits your bathroom breaks.

Human beings require bathroom visits, so a workplace should provide reasonable bathroom breaks to its employees in any case. However, a lack of bathroom breaks can pose a particular problem for pregnant workers and may constitute discrimination.

Problems caused by inadequate bathroom visits

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out a number of problems you may experience if you cannot visit the bathroom when needed. You may develop incontinence or a urinary tract infection. A UTI that is serious enough could warrant a hospital visit. Other disorders of your kidney, bladder or bowels may manifest.

Not being able to use the bathroom may also impact your performance at work. If your bladder remains full for too long, you may become distracted. You could have problems focusing on your work. If your job involves safety risks, you might also injure yourself or other people around you.

Problems experienced by pregnant women

As someone who is pregnant, you may have to go to the bathroom more often than a person who is not expecting. The weight of a fetus may press on your bladder and induce more urination. Hormone changes resulting from pregnancy can also produce more urine. Some pregnant women also need bathroom time to take medication.

Since going to the bathroom is a necessary biological function, an employer who impedes a pregnant worker’s access to the bathroom could be guilty of discrimination. If so, it may be necessary to explore how to secure your rights.