The New York State legislature unanimously passed two legislative measures sponsored by Senator Simcha Felder and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, improving implementation and enforcement of the landmark Crohn’s and Colitis Fairness Act.
“Coping with an illness is hard enough, without adding indignity. This card is a commonsense way to educate business employees of their responsibilities under the Crohn’s and Colitis Fairness Act, and prevent the need to explain or argue over qualifying conditions,” explained Senator Felder. “People protected by the law will now be ensured that their complaints to state or local consumer protection bureaus will be addressed appropriately.”
“The ID card is a small way that we can decrease the burden on people with Crohn’s and similar conditions and make it easier for them to exercise their legal right to use the restroom. If a business doesn’t comply, there is a clear avenue for filing complaints,” said Assemblywoman Paulin. “No one should be forced to endure a humiliating situation simply because they have a medical condition over which they have no control.”
According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, as many as 1.6 million Americans suffer from the chronic, incurable gastrointestinal conditions that significantly affect health and quality of life. Conditions causing debilitating urgency to use a restroom limit the lives of otherwise capable, contributing members of society. When public restrooms are not available, providing access to employee-only facilities is a small accommodation with an outsized impact.
Originally enacted in 2017, the Crohn’s and Colitis Fairness Act allows access to employee-only restrooms by individuals with Crohn’s, colitis or other similar conditions, in any business open to the public during business hours, if there are at least two employees present at the time. In practice, however, these rights have proven hard to access. Businesses were unfamiliar with the new law and employees had no way of confirming an eligible medical condition.