Ally Bain, a Crohn’s patient and teenager, experienced something that changed her life. While at a national retail clothing chain store with her mother, she suddenly had to use the restroom. They quickly ran to a manager to ask to use the employees-only restroom. But Ally was denied access and had an accident in the store. As she and her mother drove away, they vowed to never let that happen to anyone again.
With her family, friends, and State Rep. Kathleen Ryg, Ally worked to get a new law passed in Illinois. The law requires businesses to make employee-only restrooms available to people with inflammatory bowel disease and other medical conditions such as pregnancy and incontinence. The law states:
A retail establishment that has a toilet facility for its employees shall allow a customer to use that facility during normal business hours if the toilet facility is reasonably safe and all of the following conditions are met:
- The customer requesting the use of the employee toilet facility suffers from an eligible medical condition or utilizes an ostomy device.
- Three or more employees of the retail establishment are working at the time the customer requests use of the employee toilet facility.
- The retail establishment does not normally make a restroom available to the public.
- The employee toilet facility is not located in an area where providing access would create an obvious health or safety risk to the customer or an obvious security risk to the retail establishment.
- A public restroom is not immediately accessible to the customer.