Boss: Keep Toilet Breaks Under 6 Minutes Per Day

Union: WaterSaver times bathroom visits, disciplines 'excessive use'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2014 3:23 PM CDT

(Newser) – If you have to use the loo at Chicago's WaterSaver Faucet Company, you better do it in six minutes or fewer—per day. A local union says the factory has installed swipe card systems on its bathrooms to time potty breaks, slapping employees with disciplinary measures if they exceed the allotted time, CNNMoney reports. Hit "60 minutes or more over the last 10 working days" and you're in trouble, Teamsters local 743 argues in a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board. The union says some 19 workers were unfairly disciplined in June alone. "There have been meetings with workers and human resources where the workers had to explain what they were doing in the bathroom," a union rep says.

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WaterSaver's CEO, Steve Kersten, says the policy came about because some employees were spending too much time on the toilet: More than 120 hours of production were lost in May due to bathroom visits, he says, noting employees should be able to do their business during regular breaks, which total one hour per day. Don't use the bathroom at all while on the clock? You'll be rewarded with $1 per day, thrown on a gift card at the end of the month, Kersten says. However, that doesn't quite balance out the invasion of privacy inherent in monitoring bathroom time, the union rep argues, adding, "the company has spreadsheets on every union employee on how long they were in the bathroom." Meanwhile, Kersten admits there's no such swipe card system on his bathroom at work. (Read more National Labor Relations Board stories.)

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