When You Gotta Go...

I’m a package driver, and I’m often in areas where there aren’t adequate bathroom facilities.Management is threatening drivers with discipline if we go off our route to go to the bathroom. Do I have the right to pee?

— Holding It

Dear Holding It,

Yes, you have the right to go to the bathroom when you need to use it, not just on lunches or breaks.

This right is protected under OSHA regulation 29CFR Toilet facilities.1910.141(c)(1).

The second part of the rule protects drivers and other workers who don’t work at a central facility. It says drivers must have “have transportation immediately available to nearby toilet facilities.” Note the word “immediate”—OSHA says that when you gotta go, you get to go.

If you have to go off your route, let management know that there are no adequate restroom facilities where you are and that you are traveling off your route to use the restroom. Document when you called, where you were, and any response from management.

When you send your DIAD message, make sure you are informing them that you’re going to the bathroom—you should not ask for permission.

Management can ask you to use another business’ bathroom, even if their only bathroom says “Employees Only.”

You need to go to the nearest appropriate restroom.  Driving by an available public restroom just because you want to go to one with a soda machine will not cut it.  In other words, management can’t tell you that you can’t go, but you can’t take the scenic route.

Management may ask you where you are and how far off-route you’re going. These are legit questions you should respond to.

They may also ask if you can hold it and wait for the first opportunity to go on your route. If you can’t wait, you should tell them so.

A crazy suggestion management might make is that you ask a residential customer if you can use the bathroom at their residence. Bad idea. You should remind management of all the potential liabilities that could occur.

If management threatens you or harasses you, make a note of what they said and when they said it, and then slap them with a grievance on it.

If that doesn’t work, call TDU. An organizer there can help you figure out your next steps.

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