Sixteen years ago, she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an inflammation of the small intestine that can lead to diarrhea and bleeding. She often needs to quickly use a toilet when she's away from home, where she also works. Sometimes, she's accommodated; on other occasions, shop owners have refused her, leading to an embarrassing accident.
"It's humiliating," she said. "I have to go the bathroom 10 to 20 times a day. I can't control it."
That's why she's becoming the poster child for people who suffer from incontinence as legislation is introduced today in Lansing that would require retailers to open employee bathrooms to people who show a doctor's note. A similar bill died in the state House of Representatives last year. State Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale, plans to reintroduce the legislation today.
The Michigan Retailers Association says it's common sense. "It's not going to be every customer. It's customers with special needs," said Tom Scott, spokesman for the association.
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce isn't convinced. "Rest rooms that might be perfectly suitable for employees really might not be practical or satisfactory for a customer," said Rich Studley, spokesman for the chamber. "If a customer has to walk through a break room or storeroom or an office, they might see financial records or personnel records, or they might have to go through an area where cash receipts are being handled."
[...]"People who have other types of disabilities get what they need, like ramps, elevators and certain types of telephones," she said. "But I'm at the mercy of the store managers."
What the hell is the matter with people? First of all, if someone has to go bad enough that they'll ask in a non-public rest room scenario, they probably really have to go, doctor's note or no. But if it is medically necessary, who would still want to say no? The heartless assholes at the Michigan C.O.C., I guess. If a customer is suffering from a debilitating incontinence condition so serious they need a doctor's note to use the bathroom, they're not stopping to dig through your mail on the way. Are you worried about the classified trade secrets laying around in the back of your gift shop?
Not that these poor folks are going to be too picky, but God forbid you maintain a bathroom for your employees that isn't too disgusting and embarrassing for occassional "emergency" public use. If your bathroom isn't suitable for a sick customer, it isn't suitable for anyone, and you're an asshole boss. If you'd say "no" to someone in such dire circumstances, you're an asshole, period.