Tick, Tock: Company Times Bathroom Breaks

businessman  working  in toilet ...

Can you possibly imagine your supervisor timing your bathroom breaks at work? It's bad enough to use the restroom at the office, but a Big Brother-type system for people using the bathroom is something companies did at the turn of the 19th century...not something businesses should push in 2014.

Employees at WaterSaver, a faucet company, have only six minutes per day to use the washroom. Earlier this week, they stood up for their personal care rights and protested the policy of timing workers while they use the restroom. The Teamsters union has filed an "unfair labor practices complaint" with the National Labor Relations Board after 19 employees were charged with "excessive use" of the bathroom. They also feel the system is an invasion of privacy.

WaterSaver's HR department described "excessive use of the bathroom as... 60 minutes or more over the last 10 working days," according to the affidavit. Which calculates to six minutes a day.

Over the winter, WaterSaver began monitoring workers' bathroom breaks by installing a swipe card system for employees to use each time they need to use the restroom. The company's CEO, Steve Kersten, says he implemented the policy to avoid workers from slacking off or using their mobile phones. Which, according to a study last month by Ikea, is quite common.

Kersten claims that WaterSaver lost about 120 hours of productivity last May due to workers taking bathroom breaks during non-sanctioned break times. WaterSaver's employee policy gives workers daily breaks that equal one hour a day. Kersten advises employees to use the restroom during these allotted times.

Nick Kreitman, the union representative at WaterSavers said, "The company has spreadsheets on every union employee on how long they were in the bathroom. There have been meetings with workers and human resources where the workers had to explain what they were doing in the bathroom." This type of policy is embarrassing and infringes on workers right. Especially if they might have a disease like Crohn's, IBS or Colitis.

CNN interviewed Kersten and asked if he also had to swipe to use the restroom and he simply replied, 'No.'

The union and the company will meet tomorrow to discuss several issues including fair bathroom breaks.

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