Can I be prevented from washing my hands at work?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I be prevented from washing my hands at work?

I have been restricted from using the restroom to only breaks. My issue is that I work at a grocery store and sometimes get raw chicken or touch customers foods and my managment has restricted the use of the restroom. Also sanitizers are not provided by the company only from fellow employees. A memo was given to employees and none of these isssues were covered in the memo.

Asked on February 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since this is a potential safety issue, you can contact the health department. It will make the determination as to the enforceability of this policy. That having been said, health considerations aside, in general an employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit, absent legally actionable discrimination or the violation of an employment contract/union agreement. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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