House File 422 - Introduced HOUSE FILE 422 BY ANDREWS A BILL FOR An Act relating to access to an employee restroom facility in 1 retail establishments for individuals with eligible medical 2 conditions, and providing civil penalties. 3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 4 TLSB 2174YH (4) 89 pf/rh
H.F. 422 Section 1. NEW SECTION . 137E.1 Short title. 1 This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Restroom 2 Access Act” . 3 Sec. 2. NEW SECTION . 137E.2 Definitions. 4 As used in this chapter unless the context otherwise 5 requires: 6 1. “Consumer” means an individual who is lawfully on the 7 premises of a retail establishment. 8 2. “Department” means the department of public health. 9 3. “Eligible medical condition” means all of the following: 10 a. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or any other 11 inflammatory bowel disease. 12 b. Irritable bowel syndrome. 13 c. Any condition requiring the use of an ostomy device. 14 d. Any other medical condition that requires immediate 15 access to a restroom facility. 16 4. “Employee restroom facility” means a restroom that is 17 intended only for use by employees of a retail establishment 18 and not for use by the public. 19 5. “Health care professional” means a person licensed under 20 chapter 148 to practice medicine and surgery or osteopathic 21 medicine and surgery, a registered nurse or an advanced 22 registered nurse practitioner licensed under chapter 152 or an 23 advance practice registered nurse licensed under chapter 152E, 24 or a physician assistant licensed to practice under chapter 25 148C. 26 6. “Ostomy device” means a medical device that creates an 27 artificial passage for the elimination of body waste. 28 7. “Restroom” means a room containing a toilet. 29 8. “Retail establishment” means a place of business 30 regularly open to the public in which the retail sale of 31 goods or services to the ultimate consumer is the principal 32 business conducted, and includes professional corporations 33 and other entities where legal, medical, dental, engineering, 34 architectural, or other professional services are delivered. 35 -1- LSB 2174YH (4) 89 pf/rh 1/ 6
H.F. 422 “Retail establishment” does not include a residence unless 1 the residence is regularly open to the public as a place of 2 business. 3 Sec. 3. NEW SECTION . 137E.3 Retail establishment —— 4 consumer access to employee restroom facilities. 5 1. A retail establishment that provides an employee 6 restroom facility for its employees and does not normally make 7 a restroom available to the public shall allow a consumer to 8 use the employee restroom facility during normal business hours 9 if the employee restroom facility is maintained in a reasonably 10 safe manner and all of the following conditions are met: 11 a. The consumer requesting the use of the employee restroom 12 facility suffers from an eligible medical condition and 13 provides written documentation, as approved by the department, 14 of the consumer’s eligible medical condition to the retail 15 establishment. 16 b. A public restroom is not immediately accessible to the 17 consumer. 18 c. A sufficient number of employees of the retail 19 establishment are working at the time the consumer requests 20 use of the employee restroom facility such that the consumer 21 accessing the employee restroom facility does not cause the 22 retail establishment to cease or significantly curtail normal 23 business operations. 24 d. The employee restroom facility is located in an area of 25 the retail establishment that does not present an obvious risk 26 to the health or safety of the consumer or an obvious security 27 risk to the retail establishment. For the purposes of this 28 paragraph: 29 (1) “Obvious risk to the health or safety of the consumer” 30 includes but is not limited to a situation where accessing the 31 employee restroom facility requires the consumer to traverse an 32 area where manufacturing or heavy equipment is in use, items 33 are stored on high shelving, adequate lighting is not present, 34 the flooring is wet or slippery, or hazardous materials are 35 -2- LSB 2174YH (4) 89 pf/rh 2/ 6
H.F. 422 used or stored. 1 (2) “Obvious security risk” includes exposing the consumer 2 to sensitive company documents, materials, or trade secrets. 3 2. This section shall not require a retail establishment 4 to make any physical changes or improvements to an employee 5 restroom facility. 6 Sec. 4. NEW SECTION . 137E.4 Liability. 7 1. If an act or omission of a retail establishment or an 8 employee of a retail establishment, in allowing a consumer who 9 claims to have an eligible medical condition to use the retail 10 establishment’s employee restroom facility as required by this 11 chapter, results in an injury to or death of the consumer or an 12 individual other than an employee of the retail establishment 13 who is accompanying the consumer in an area not usually 14 accessible to the public, the retail establishment and the 15 employee are immune from civil liability if the act or omission 16 is not grossly negligent. 17 2. An employee restroom facility provided to consumers 18 solely to comply with this section shall not be considered a 19 public restroom for the purposes of laws or regulations that 20 generally govern facilities available to the public, but shall 21 instead be governed by the laws and regulations that otherwise 22 govern the restroom facility if it were not made available to a 23 consumer pursuant to this chapter. 24 Sec. 5. NEW SECTION . 137E.5 Written documentation of 25 eligible medical condition —— rules. 26 1. All of the following shall be accepted as written 27 documentation of a consumer’s eligible medical condition: 28 a. A copy of a statement signed by a consumer’s health care 29 professional that indicates the consumer has been formally 30 diagnosed with an eligible medical condition. 31 b. An identification card issued by a nationally recognized 32 health organization, approved by the department, that indicates 33 the consumer has been formally diagnosed with an eligible 34 medical condition. 35 -3- LSB 2174YH (4) 89 pf/rh 3/ 6
H.F. 422 2. The department shall develop a standard electronic form 1 that may be used by a health care professional to provide 2 the signed statement as described in subsection 1. The form 3 shall include a brief description of the consumer’s rights 4 under this chapter and shall be made available to the public 5 electronically. This subsection shall not be construed to 6 require the department to distribute printed versions of the 7 form. 8 3. The department shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 17A 9 to administer this chapter. 10 Sec. 6. NEW SECTION . 137E.6 Violations —— penalties. 11 1. A retail establishment or an employee of a retail 12 establishment who does not comply with this chapter or refuses 13 to provide a consumer access to an employee restroom facility 14 as required by this chapter violates this chapter and is 15 subject to the penalties specified in this section. 16 2. a. For a first violation of this section, the city 17 or county attorney shall issue a warning letter to the 18 retail establishment and to any employee of the retail 19 establishment that denied access to an employee restroom 20 facility in violation of this chapter, informing the retail 21 establishment and the employee of the retail establishment of 22 the requirements of this chapter. 23 b. A retail establishment or an employee of a retail 24 establishment that subsequently violates this chapter after 25 receiving the warning letter pursuant to subsection 1 is 26 subject to a civil penalty of two hundred dollars. 27 3. A person who forges, alters, improperly transfers, or 28 knowingly possesses and uses a forged or altered statement by a 29 health care professional or an identification card is subject 30 to a civil penalty of two hundred dollars. 31 EXPLANATION 32 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 33 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 34 This bill provides for access to an employee restroom 35 -4- LSB 2174YH (4) 89 pf/rh 4/ 6
H.F. 422 facility in retail establishments for individuals with eligible 1 medical conditions. 2 The bill creates a new Code chapter entitled the “Restroom 3 Access Act”. 4 The bill provides definitions for the purposes of the 5 new Code chapter, including “eligible medical condition”, 6 which includes Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or any 7 other inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, 8 any condition requiring the use of an ostomy device, and any 9 other medical condition that requires immediate access to a 10 restroom facility; “employee restroom facility”, “health care 11 professional”, and “retail establishment”. 12 The bill requires a retail establishment that provides 13 an employee restroom facility for its employees and does not 14 normally make a restroom available to the public to allow a 15 consumer to use the employee restroom facility during normal 16 business hours if the employee restroom facility is maintained 17 in a reasonably safe manner and certain conditions are met. 18 The conditions include that the consumer requesting the use of 19 the employee restroom facility suffers from an eligible medical 20 condition and provides written documentation of the consumer’s 21 condition; a public restroom is not immediately accessible to 22 the consumer; a sufficient number of employees are working at 23 the time the consumer requests use of the employee restroom 24 facility; and the employee restroom facility is located in 25 an area of the retail establishment that does not present an 26 obvious risk to the health or safety of the consumer or an 27 obvious security risk to the retail establishment. The bill 28 does not require a retail establishment to make any physical 29 changes or improvements to an employee restroom facility. 30 The bill provides that if an act or omission of a retail 31 establishment or an employee of a retail establishment, in 32 allowing a consumer who claims to have an eligible medical 33 condition to use the retail establishment’s employee restroom 34 facility as required by this chapter, results in an injury 35 -5- LSB 2174YH (4) 89 pf/rh 5/ 6
H.F. 422 to or death of the consumer or an individual other than an 1 employee of the retail establishment who is accompanying the 2 consumer in an area not usually accessible to the public, the 3 retail establishment and the employee are immune from civil 4 liability if the act or omission is not grossly negligent. 5 An employee restroom facility provided to comply with the 6 bill is not to be considered a public restroom for the purposes 7 of laws or regulations that generally govern facilities 8 available to the public, but shall instead be governed by 9 the laws and regulations that otherwise govern the restroom 10 facility if it were not made available to a consumer under the 11 bill. 12 The bill provides for the types of written documentation 13 that are acceptable under the bill and directs the department 14 of public health (DPH) to develop a standard electronic form 15 that may be used by a health care professional to provide the 16 acceptable signed statement under the bill. The bill directs 17 DPH to adopt administrative rules to administer the bill. 18 Under the bill, a retail establishment or an employee of 19 a retail establishment that does not comply with the bill or 20 refuses to provide a consumer access to an employee restroom 21 facility as required by the bill violates the Code chapter. 22 For a first violation, the city or county attorney shall issue 23 a warning letter to the retail establishment and any employee 24 of the retail establishment that denied access in violation of 25 the Code chapter, informing the retail establishment and the 26 employee of the retail establishment of the requirements of 27 this Code chapter. For a second or subsequent violation, the 28 retail establishment or employee is subject to a civil penalty 29 of $200. The bill also provides that a person who forges, 30 alters, improperly transfers, or knowingly possesses and uses a 31 forged or altered statement by a health care professional or an 32 identification card is subject to a civil penalty of $200. 33 -6- LSB 2174YH (4) 89 pf/rh 6/ 6