Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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Federal law provides that any break less than 20 minutes be paid. As federal law applies in all states, including CA, this means that any bathroom break less than 20 minutes will need to be paid.
Although bathroom breaks must be paid under federal law, the law does permit employers to "reasonably limit" an employee's use of the bathroom. So, if an employee has a habit of going frequently, an employer can curtail that to what's "reasonable" (likely once or twice a shift). The only exception would be if the employee is going to the bathroom frequently because of a medical disability. In that case, the employer would be obligated to "reasonably accommodate" the employee's disability, which would mean allowing the employee to go to the bathroom as frequently as they required, provided that such bathroom visits do not impose "undue hardship" on the company.
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