When Your Boss Monitors Your Bathroom Breaks

8438516267_e205c3767c_zVia CNNMoney and a post on my dad’s Facebook wall with the commentary, “Fight for feces freedom! End bathroom surveillance,” (thanks, Dad!), a faucet manufacturing company called WaterSaver has limited employee bathroom time to six minutes a day, a move that, if the Teamsters have anything to say about it, will get them in trouble with the Labor Relations Board.

Six minutes a day. Could you do it?

The system was put in place after they suspected workers to be hanging out in bathrooms staring at their cellphones, which are banned on the factory floor. When you have to go to the bathroom outside of break time at WaterSaver, you have to swipe in and out. Once you pass your allotted time (60 minutes over 10 working days), the company takes disciplinary measures for “excessive bathroom usage.”

The union said monitoring bathroom time is an invasion of privacy.

“The company has spreadsheets on every union employee on how long they were in the bathroom,” said Nick Kreitman, the union representative at WaterSavers. “There have been meetings with workers and human resources where the workers had to explain what they were doing in the bathroom,” he said.

It’s unreasonable given that the human body can’t always perform on cue, Kreitman said. Besides, he pointed out that the company’s 140 workers don’t have paid sick days. Workers who can’t afford to lose a day’s pay come into work sick, and may end up using bathrooms more, he said.

If it’s a genuine issue — and I can imagine wanting to hide out in the bathroom and read the internet for hours if I worked at a faucet manufacturing company, too, so maybe it is — one would hope they could handle it on a case-by-case basis and maybe save this most invasive and condescending interrogation for the people who are truly abusing the, uh, PRIVILEGE of going to the bathroom.

Or barring that, um, gift cards?

To recoup lost hours, WaterSaver has adopted a rewards system where workers can earn a gift card of up to $20 each month ($1 a day) if they don’t use the bathroom at all during work time. CEO Kersten said a few workers have already earned them.

I really want to know where the gift cards can be redeemed, if only to nail the lid on this coffin of sadness.

Photo via voteprime



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