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May21

Can an employer legally lock the work place bathrooms

There are employees deliberately damaging the bathroom facilities. Can the employer lock the bathroom and the employee request a key when the need to utilize the facility?

Yes, you can lock the bathrooms and require that an employee request the key, or have a supervisor unlock the bathroom for each employee. However, you must make the bathroom available to employees when nature calls, under OSHA worker safety regulations. In other words, if the employee has to wait 15 or 20 minutes for the supervisor to be available to give out the bathroom key, that would be a violation of OSHA standards. As long as the key (and the bathroom) is available within 5 minutes, locking the bathroom is fine.

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 21st, 2010 at 7:34 am and is filed under
Workplace Health & Safety.
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4 Responses to “Can an employer legally lock the work place bathrooms”

  1. Barbara Baker Says:

    I was denied the use of the only restroom at the plant I work at. The reason was all the employees were messing it up so they were not letting anyone use it except for the two dispatchers that work in the office. I was told I could use the port a potty in the yard that has no running water to wash my hands, I might add that I am the only female. Is that legal? I work in the state of Florida.

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Barbara! Yes, that is legal. OSHA regulations require that the employer provide a toilet, and the porta-potty meets that requirement. (In many workplaces such as construction sites only porta-potties are available.) In fact, it would be illegal discrimination based on sex for the employer to allow all female workers to use the indoor bathroom, and require all male workers to use the porta-potty. Our suggestion: carry hand sanitizer with you. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  3. bahiyyah Says:

    What about management using the indoor faciloties and denying use of facilities to employees

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi bahiyyah! OSHA worker safety standards require that employees have access to a toilet, and be permitted to use the toilet “when nature calls.” There is no requirement that the toilet be indoors. At construction sites, it is very common for workers to use a “Porta-potty” or similar temporary toilet.
    However, employers must provide access to some toilet. If employees have access to the outdoor toilets, that probably meets the legal requirements.
    Obviously, this sends a negative message about the low regard management has for workers, but while that is sad, it is not illegal. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

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