Labor

Company Tracks Workers' Bathroom Visits to Punish Those Who Pee Too Much

Workers have to use a swipe card to use the facilities.

Photo Credit: Tzubasa/Shutterstock.com

Here's an employer determined to squeeze every last drop of productivity out of its workers:

Members of the Teamsters Local 743 who build sink stations at WaterSaver Faucet Co. and its sister company Guardian Equipment Inc. said that workers have been disciplined for exceeding their allotted bathroom time of 30 minutes per week, or 6 minutes per workday.

"They offered $1 per day for anyone who doesn’t go to the bathroom at all," said Nick Kreitman, senior business agent for Teamsters Local 743.  So far, 19 people have been disciplined, with written or oral warnings, he said.

To be fair, the workers do get breaks under their union contract, but oddly enough human bodies don't always follow the official break schedule. The company claims it's not limiting people to six minutes a day, it's just disciplining people who abuse its totally lenient, not-limited-to-six-minutes bathroom policy:

But owner Kersten said there is no bathroom “allotment” beyond scheduled breaks and that workers were only disciplined when the tracking system showed they were taking excessive bathroom breaks.  He cited one worker who was tracked using the bathroom six times in one shift, including two minutes before his scheduled morning break.

Um. Is that a guy taking advantage of his employer by going to the bathroom for kicks, or is that a guy who maybe should've stayed home, but had no sick leave? Because these workers have no paid sick leave, and who has not, in their time, made a desperate run for a bathroom in a moment of urgency and discomfort? And yes, you read that right: tracking system. The workers have to swipe an ID to get into the bathroom, and the company tracks it. Boy, that sure makes the company's claims that it's reasonable and fair about bathroom breaks believable, doesn't it?

The workers' union has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, but under federal law employers actually do have a right to sharply limit workers' bathroom breaks; some states have laws protecting the right to pee, but in this case, a little public shaming may be the workers' best bet. So, in case you missed it, the company in question here, the one tracking its workers' bathroom breaks by swipe card and offering them a whole dollar a day to never go to the bathroom, is WaterSaver Faucet Co. and Guardian Equipment Inc.

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.

 

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