Last year it was reported that workers in Chinese sweatshops had their bathroom breaks limited to two minutes. Now some Chicago workers are saying that they don’t have it much better, accusing their employer of limiting bathroom breaks to six minutes.
Workers at Chicago’s WaterSaver Faucet factory told the National Labor Relations Board that the company installed an electronic tracker to ensure that employees’ personal bathroom breaks are limited to six minutes.
“This year, they installed a washroom monitoring system that basically keeps track of every minute you’re in the bathroom,” said Teamsters Local 743 agent Nick Kreitman. “Earlier this year, they implemented a disciplinary system with it, where you had a certain amount of time within a two-week period to be in the bathroom. If you exceeded it by one minute, you got written up.”
The company disciplined dozens of employees for “excessive” use of the bathroom, which amounts to over 60 minutes of bathroom use during a 10 day period, reports CNN. The company is even going so far as to offer $20 gift cards to employees who don’t go to the bathroom at all during the workday.
CEO Steve Kersten told CNN that the company has lost 120 hours of work production in May due to employees going to the bathroom during times that were not scheduled breaks or lunch.
“It’s not fair for the people who come and work hard seven-and-a-half hours a day to have the guy next to them screwing off in the bathroom all day long,” Kersten told affiliate WBBM-TV.
It is the company’s belief that people are getting extra breaks by taking bathroom breaks at periods other than their allotted times.