The WaterSaver Faucet company in Chicago has issued a company-wide policy to limit its workers' bathroom breaks to just six minutes per day. According to Teamsters union local 743, which filed a complaint against the company through the National Labor Relation Board, 19 workers have been unjustly disciplined due to their alleged abuse of bathroom breaks under the policy.
Only 60 Minutes of Bathroom Breaks Every 10 Days
According to the company, if an individual spends more than 60 minutes in the bathroom over a period of 10 working days, then the person has violated the company's bathroom break policy. The company keeps track of its workers' bathroom breaks by using a swipe card bathroom entry system. The CEO says his company is losing valuable production time because employees are abusing bathroom privileges and it had no choice but to install the system. The CEO says that no one has been terminated or suspended due to bathroom use. Nevertheless, the company's three strike disciplinary system could eventually result in termination in some cases.
Company Suspects Workers Are Using Cellphones in the Bathroom
According to the union's complaint, monitoring employee bathroom time represents an invasion of their privacy. The union representative for WaterSavers says that workers have been questioned about their activities inside the bathroom, and he says that this is not fair considering that the need to go to the bathroom is not something individuals can necessarily control.
The CEO has responded to worker complaints, saying that workers have a total of one hour of breaks during the day and that should be sufficient time for them to go to the bathroom. The CEO also said that he suspects workers are using their cellphones in the bathroom; cellphone use has been banned from the company's factory floor. When the CEO, himself, was asked if his bathroom time was monitored at work, however, he said no.
Not all workers enduring unfair policies at their workplaces have the power of an organized union to voice their concerns. However, some employees may find protection from mistreatment by state and federal employment laws. When it comes to workplace safety conditions, discrimination, sexual harassment and general fairness of workplace policies, many mistreated employees will have valid claims for justice under the law.
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