"We do not have public restrooms, sorry."

We've probably all heard that before when entering a small retail store, gas station or somewhere else you happened to be when you had to go.

Sometimes the policy is posted on the front door to save the employee from having to state it again.

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Many businesses have public restrooms, and while some require an employee to hand you the key or unlock the door, most are open and available for you to use. That is helpful, especially if you have kids.

Can a Massachusetts business refuse to allow you access to its employee restroom if there is no public loo in the establishment?

The short answer is yes, in some cases.

Massachusetts law requires businesses to provide restrooms for their employees, but they don't have to grant access to everyone else.

There are exceptions.

Massachusetts Businesses Can Deny Access To Their Restrooms
Joseph Ferrao/ Getty Images

According to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office Civil Rights Division, businesses must allow access to employee restrooms to "people with certain medical conditions, such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or another medical condition that requires immediate access to a restroom if the following conditions are all met:

There are no public bathrooms immediately available or accessible. The individual's medical condition is documented in writing by a physician. The employee restroom is in an area where providing access would create no obvious health or safety risk to the individual or the establishment.

And, the establishment has three or more employees working at the time the individual needs to access the restroom."

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