The Restroom Access Act is a law passed in several states that requires retail establishments that do not have public restrooms to provide access to employee-only restrooms to patrons in need. This can include people who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD),irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), pregnant women, and those who have other chronic conditions. This was the first type of legislation of its kind passed in a total of 13 states – Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Washington. The act has been passed in these states largely as result of grassroots efforts. There is support for a federal version of the act, and several other states have similar laws currently in the works.
The Restroom Access Act is also known as “Ally’s Law,” so named for the teen who was spurred to action after she experienced an IBD-related accident. Ally was denied access to an employee-only restroom while shopping. Ally was instrumental in getting the first version of the Restroom Access Act passed in Illinois, her home state. This young teenage took a situation that all of with this type of disease fear and turned into a movement to change the system. It began after Ally at the age of 14 and living with Crohns was shopping with her mother and asked to use a store restroom and was denied. Ally had an accident. She then made it her mission to prevent this from happening to anyone!