Company Gives Workers Six Minutes a Day for Bathroom Breaks, Disciplines “Excessive” Use

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 16 2014 7:06 PM

Company Gives Workers Six Minutes a Day for Bathroom Breaks, Disciplines “Excessive” Use

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Tick tock.

Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

There is no time for urinal-induced stage fright at WaterSaver Faucet company—especially if, say, you’re a big water drinker and think you might need to head back to the loo later in the day. While bathroom breaks seem like a pretty basic workers’ right, the Chicago-based faucet company is concerned about lost production time spent in the bathroom and is cracking the whip. How, you might ask? They’re timing employees’ bathroom excursions, says the local Teamsters union, in a complaint filed to the National Labor Relations Board.

The union says the company even disciplined 19 workers for “excessive use” of the bathrooms last month. And by excessive, the company means you’re allocated six minutes to do your business—a day. Oh, and they also give workers gift cards as rewards for not using the bathroom at all in a day. Google this is not. The length of one’s time in the bathroom, it goes without saying, is a pretty intimate, personal thing. But, obviously, that’s not the case at WaterSaver Faucet company. Here’s more from CNN:

The company's human resources department described "excessive use of the bathroom as... 60 minutes or more over the last 10 working days," according to the affidavit. Do the math and it works out to 6 minutes a day. The controversy goes back to last winter when WaterSaver installed swipe card systems on bathrooms located off the factory floor. The company said it had little choice because some employees were spending way too much time in there, and not enough time on the manufacturing line. WaterSaver's CEO, Steve Kersten, said 120 hours of production were lost in May because of bathroom visits outside of allotted break times. 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… He said that so far no one has been suspended or terminated, although warnings were issued. The company has a three step disciplinary process that starts with a verbal or written warning, which can then lead to a suspension, and finally a termination.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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