Far Out Friday: Staff penalised for bathroom breaks

by Janie Smith25 Jul 2014
WaterSaver Faucet Co is concerned about employee productivity levels going down the toilet - literally.

The Chicago company, which builds sinks, has started disciplining employees who spend more than six minutes in the bathroom per day, the Daily Mail reported.

Members of the workers’ union, Teamsters Local 743, filed a complaint with the National Labour Board after the company disciplined 19 employees for “excessive use” of the bathroom.

CNN reported that the company was concerned that workers were spending too much time in the bathroom, defining excessive use as “60 minutes or more over the last 10 working days”.

Workers who didn’t use the bathroom at all during the work day earned an extra dollar per day and could earn a gift card worth up to $20 each month.

WaterSaver CEO Steve Kersten claimed that the company lost 120 hours of production in May because of extra bathroom visits outside of break times and believed employees may be spending time on their phones in the bathrooms.

He said workers were given daily breaks that added up to an hour and they should use the bathroom during those breaks.

No one has been fired yet for overusing the bathroom, but warnings have been issued.

The union claimed that the policy was an invasion of privacy and that there had been meetings with workers and HR where employees had to explain what they were doing in the bathroom.

It also pointed out that since workers are not paid for sick days, those who came to work feeling sick may need to use the bathroom for longer than other employees.

The company and the union have agreed to meet to discuss – and hopefully “flush out” – the issue.