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Readers Respond: What IBS Accommodations Do You Need at Work?

Responses: 13


Updated August 20, 2012

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers with more than 15 employees to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals who have disabilities. These accommodations might include comfortable access to a restroom or flexible work hours to account for times of IBS exacerbation. What reasonable accommodations would you like to see at your job site due to your IBS? If your employer has already made accommodations for your health, what are they? Share your thoughts here and find out what accommodations other IBS sufferers need at their workplace. Share Your Need!

They will never understand!

Like my title says... They will never understand! I work at the bank as a teller and I can always step away from the window when I'm having a episode. I always have anxiety when I have a client and the pain starts because I can't really leave until I'm done with the transaction. Having Ibs-d is beyond stressful. My managers don't understand what I go through and they just always expect me to be at my window at all times to assist the clients. I have Fmla and I call out a lot and they have that as well. They have really stressed me out because they treat me horribly and they just never understand. I have a lot of bathrooms around me which I love the idea and that's why I don't want to change the location that I'm working at because of this reason. If I go to another branch I need to have a tour so I can make sure there are enough bathrooms around and maybe 1 private one as well. Thanks for hearing me out guys. You are the only ones that will understand anyways because y'all go through it.
—Guest Bulletproof


I'm a 19 year old male who has had this disease since i was 16, i don't have it crazy bad, but just enough that i need to spend 10-15 minutes in the bathroom at work once in a while, i've been reading up on laws and regulations through OSHA etc. but can't make heads or tails of all the legal mumbo jumbo, my work is telling me that during long bathroom periods i gave to clock out and will not be paid. Everything i read online says that they cannot do this unless the break extends 20 minutes. I receive a 20 min break for lunch. So i started wondering, if i stay clocked in for the 10-15 minutes, does it take away my break to eat lunch. I'm a struggling young adult trying to make it in the world and i just don't know law very well, can anyone help me clarify and give me contact to someone who can help clarify. Thank you.
—Guest Patrick


When I was working as a teacher in a private school, i always was able to get my classroom 5 ft away from the bathroom. I don't know how public school teachers with this condition can survive...All of the classrooms had connecting doors, so I could yell to the teacher to watch my class while I ran to the bathroom. When I taught kindergarten , I shared half of the room with the 1st. grade and the 1st. grade had its own bathroom..I always kept 2-3 complete change of clothes in any classroom where I taught. I always keep 2 changes of clothes in my car, just in case. Now, that i am retired, my bathroom is 2 ft. away, so that makes it a lot easier. I have always had to make sure that I know where the bathrooms are anywhere that I go...This is probably a pain in the "you know what" for most of you who do not suffer this ailment.....But for those of us who do, we have to be constantly on guard, because we never know when the stomach pains will come and then explosive diarrhea begin.
—Guest cindi santamaria

have to quit my job

I developed IBS in my last employment just before I left, I think it was triggered due to a number of stress factors, marriage, moving, etc etc. In those last few months I was hospitalized and had numerous episodes so I had no sick days. My work in the UK as a health care professional can not accommodate me in any way. My manager knows I am genuinely sick but in the NHS all they care about is productivity, being there in the hours you're meant to be. Because of the cramps and pain is often have to go home early or lay down somewhere until painkillers kicked in. My manager told me human resources will call me for interview if I have 3 or more episodes of sickness in year. And I may not be suited for hospital work if my condition is affecting my work. I find this outrageous. I love my job and I work hard when I'm at work, I even stay late, I cover other people shifts and cover sickness for others. It's not like I hate my work and I don't work hard.

work from home?

I have a job in healthcare that requires me going to the office for business hours. I have FML for IBS and my bosses are very understanding when I can't make it, but it doesn't change that when I am gone things go undone and Im behind on paperwork when I return. Does anyone have suggestions about jobs you can do at home? everything online seems like a scam. I have a graduate education, references, experience, just can't find any home jobs..
—Guest hurting

IBS at work -modify

I have tried to get a flexible schedule to accommodate my health needs w/o avail. But I did not mention my IBS as I was too embarassed.
—Guest mary

Pushing heavy carts

I have IBS and it's very difficult to push carts at work all day 8 hour shifts. It puts a lot of stress on my body which causes my symptoms to get worse. And I'm far from a bathroom. What should I do?
—Guest Joe


All that is necessary to do the job we're good at are, in my opinion: flexible work hours (there is no way to guarantee that I'll make it to work exactly at 9.00 o' clock; but given flexibiliy; I will get there and do the exact amount of work needed or more!!), access to a bathroom in a way that not all the colleagues notice me (so privacy please!) and finally a place to lie down when necessary (and this ís necessary because it makes the pain and cramps go away a lot faster than having to sit up right). May I suggest that if there is a possibility to at least work from home part time we should be given the chance. We will work hard and good and make up for any adjustment just to prove we can do the job just as well or even better, given a fair chance!!!
—Guest Maris

Employers & Their lack of knowledge

I've been terminated from 3 jobs in the past year and a half because of my inability to be "on time" for work. I do outside sales, I'm good at what I do, and I sell and do my job very well. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to ever make it to work at 8am. sometimes im 15 min late, but always work late and again always produce and hit goal. Let's face it..this is embarrassing. I'm a 32 year old attractive female with IBS. Why would I ever want to tell my old or even young man boss that I can't make it to work on time because I either was too constipated or had to stop at 4 gas stations on the way or i would poopoo in my pants. When tardiness was addressed, I was always honest. 3 times now, immediately after revealing my condition, I was fired because "it's just not working out". What isnt working out? If the ADA has truly taken into heart and consideration our disease, then they need to educate employers because it's not unreasonable to ask for slight schedule modifications.
—Guest Marla

Working from home

My IBS is intermittent. I've already had an FMLA claim for 2010. I've asked repeatedly, and my doctor has supported, that working from home which does not negatively affect my performance or ability to do the job, would be advisable. The bathrooms are far enough away from offices and cubicles that I've had numerous "accidents" which are embarrassing and require I leave work anyway to clean up and change. I would hope that a modified schedule to work from home when I'm having an episode would be considered "reasonable accommodation."

No Cubicles

I was unable to work in a cubicle due to IBS. Because you are always "on view" in a cube, my body reacts to this as a stressful situation which triggers symptoms. I had my gastroenterologist write a letter asking that I be allowed to have an enclosed office. My workplace accommodated me. But, this removed me from my co-workers and may have contributed to me being laid off.
—Guest KC


My employer does not have parking for employees. We must take a bus in from a parking area two miles away. Buses cause tremendous stress (no toilet). The ride is only ten minutes but my anxiety skyrockets knowing I won't have access, which in turn makes me need the toilet immediately. I have been parking on my employers lot (VA hospital) and have had two $40.00 parking violations. I've asked for parking accommodations and the staff doctor has said that there really is no use in asking for parking privileges, they have refused others who have MS. I am so deflated, this is a pretty good government job and now I feel I have no choice but to find new employment. P.S. Of course all of the hospital executives have designated parking spaces on hospital grounds.
—Guest William

Bathroom in Sight

I have repeatedly asked to have my desk moved so that I can see if the employee bathroom is occupied or open. My supervisor says they are working on it. I don't know what the problem is. It would relieve a great deal of anxiety for me knowing that I could get in there fast if I needed.

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What IBS Accommodations Do You Need at Work?

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