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ShadowBall
03-20-2011, 03:29 PM
Bear with me if the thing I'm going to ask about is a normal work practice, because I honestly don't know if it is or not.

Is it normal for an employee to need to clock out to use the restroom? :confused: I only ask because we've been told we need to do this, and only when I mentioned it to someone in passing did they say that sounded a little odd. We need to clock out if we want a drink too...basically, anything involving leaving our seats, we need to clock out for.

We also get yelled at if we have our stations in training mode (which is for when we have meetings or the boss talks to people individually about how they're doing their job wrong) and need to pee right after the meeting. Last time we had one of our floor meetings, the boss said, "Make sure you punch out before going to the bathroom!" Because, hey, that's two minutes for which she would be paying that person to pee!

Maybe somewhere along the line, someone was taking hour-long potty breaks and now the boss has to be a pee-time Nazi. It just sucks sometimes when you're throwing back coffee all day long, your bathroom time adds up and might mess with your hours. You hear about it if you are behind on your hours even by a few minutes. Conversely, we are not allowed to punch in until a certain time. This is to ensure nobody gets eight hours of work in a day because then they might be considered full-time and the company is not interested in giving anyone any benefits.

surreal20
03-20-2011, 03:33 PM
I don't believe that is legally allowable. There is one thing to a break. You should read up on the laws in your area and take it up with higher ups.

This sounds rather fishy, and i wouldn't stand for it.

Lachrymose
03-20-2011, 03:34 PM
Are you in a call center?

I remember it being standard practice a few years back when I worked in one.

ShadowBall
03-20-2011, 03:46 PM
Yeah, I'm a cold-caller. It's not as if the bathrooms are far away - they're right outside the office doors. But then again, if you leave your work station on (as in not on break or "end of the day"), it automatically calls other numbers. Basically the only setting where you are not clocked out (unpaid) is training, and you can only use that for, as said, meetings.

Ehh, okay, maybe it makes more sense than I thought.

Lachrymose
03-20-2011, 03:50 PM
Yeah, I used to work for MCI about 12 years ago (has it been that long..wow!). They didn't even like it when we had to go off of our break time.

It was probably the strictest setting I've ever worked in, but, like you said, there is some sense to it. I do have to say, I generally liked the work though (inbound CS).

telecom_goddess
03-20-2011, 05:04 PM
I have worked in call centers and it has never been a policy to clock out to go to the bathroom....and I think it's bullshit that you have to do that. What if you're diabetic and on diuretics like me for example? I get up and pee a LOT. There is no way that they are going to dock my pay for that.

I would read up on BOLI laws and the like....that can't be legal.

50 mission cap
03-20-2011, 05:10 PM
I work at a call center, have done both in and out-bound, my experience is you need to log out so you dont get calls, but are still paid. However this does affect your performance if you are offline often. if you are not getting paid for this you should follow up.

Heksubah
03-20-2011, 05:28 PM
I've worked in call centers for 12 years. Most that I've been at have an AUX or ACW (after call work) mode on the phone that you can hit that will stop the calls from coming in or going out. They usually warn you not to get too heavy on that because it will have an affect upon your adherence to your set schedule, and most of them require like 95% adherence (which means you can oopsie like 7 minutes a day and be fine, and if one day you don't take a break, then another day you have a little bit longer because it is usually a monthly stat.)

ShadowBall
03-20-2011, 05:35 PM
Oh I have to pee a lot too since I'm drinking coffee like it's going out of style. And out of politeness, if I need to do anything besides peeing, I will do it in the bathroom down the hall. I also brush my teeth halfway through the day because if I don't after my copious sugar intake, my teeth will hate me and I will need to go get my mouth stabbed again. But my performance does not suffer from bathroom breaks at all. Hey, they feed us coffee, they have to expect people to pee a lot. One guy opposite my computer has a gallon of water at his desk that he drinks all day long, so I know he's going to be needing the bathroom a lot.

But our computers do not have an option where we are logged out, but still paid. Breaks - including lunch - are unpaid. You can work through your lunch and get paid, but if you get up for any reason besides meetings, you have to set your status as "end of the day," or clocked out.

Honestly, I usually have to use the bathroom about four or five times a day at work, and that uses up maybe ten minutes in total. I might get the uncontrollable urge for a bottle of pop and take two minutes to run to the vending machine. Basically, bathroom time is so negligible that you could easily make it up by maybe coming back from lunch a minute or two earlier each day the following week.

Meanwhile, my boss is pregnant and spends a lot of time in the bathroom puking, which I know is often expected under such circumstances. I don't know if bosses have to clock in and out or not, but I have a good feeling she was getting paid to be in the bathroom.

wagegoth
03-20-2011, 10:34 PM
You have to check your local labor laws, as they vary widely from state to state. They should be online. If it isn't clear, there should be a contact number to reach the labor board for your area.

bainsidhe
03-21-2011, 02:59 AM
I agree with Wagegoth. Some states require paid breaks, others don't. And it doesn't sound like they're refusing bathroom breaks, they just won't pay you for them. Not sure how the law feels about that type of thing.

ShadowBall
03-21-2011, 03:55 AM
Here's what I found about my state's labor laws:

Employers are not required to give breaks for employees 18 and over. If your employer allows breaks, and they last less than 20 minutes, you must be paid for the break. If your employer allows meal periods, the employer is not required to pay you for your meal period if you do not work during your meal period and it lasts more than 20 minutes. A collective bargaining agreement may also govern this issue.

So employers here apparently don't even have to give their workers breaks at all (or have I misunderstood what was said?). But if collective bathroom time equals less than 20 minutes, wouldn't that mean it should be paid time? And I'm not nitpicking over whether or not I'm paid to pee...I'm just wondering if my company is doing something ELSE that's shady. I guess should I ever decide to write a complaint about their asses, I need letter fodder.

bainsidhe
03-21-2011, 07:37 AM
I dunno, I say give the labor board a call and ask. But does your workplace give you breaks in addition to lunch? You mentioned a break in an earlier comment and that it wasn't paid, but is it a real break or were you just referring to any time you have to leave the desk. Because based on what you read, IF your employer gives you breaks that are less than 20 minutes in length, then they have to pay you.

CrazedClerkthe2nd
03-21-2011, 03:05 PM
At the call center I worked at, we were given 30 minutes of paid break time each day. Although technically you were supposed to use that as two 15 minute breaks to go along with the 30 minute unpaid lunch, you could also use those break minutes to go the bathroom.

If you had no break minutes left and had to go, then you had to clock out. I remember a night were I started to feel ill and clocked out for 45 minutes. Then when I felt better, I went back, stayed late and finished my 8 hours of on the clock time.

blas
03-21-2011, 03:41 PM
The only places around here that make you punch out to use the bathroom are owned by Mr. Menard *surprise surprise*.

ShadowBall
03-21-2011, 10:24 PM
CrazedClerkthe2nd, it works the same where I am, except we get a 45-minute lunch. From what I was originally told when I started this job, we were to have a 15-minute break between starting work and lunch, and another one between lunch and going home. When I took those breaks, I fell behind on my hours, so I think those 15-minute breaks are just meant to be for short work station absences like the bathroom, a drink, etc. They are not paid, though. Still, why the hell would they tell me I could have two 15-minute breaks and a 45-minute lunch if, in fact, it interfered with my time?

As said, any time we leave our computers for anything besides meetings with the boss, we must clock out and therefore, we are not paid for any break no matter how short. I may still call the labor board just to be clear. I'm not worried about the fraction of a dollar I might get for peeing; I just wonder if them being so strict is necessary or right. They keep us all on tight leashes to begin with.

We're allowed to leave our work stations any time we want - even if we want to take lunch earlier or later than, say, noon. For me, I can get about an hour and five minutes of break time a day without messing up my hours.

teh_blumchenkinder
03-22-2011, 01:28 AM
I wonder what they'd say if you managed to do a catheter-type setup and peed in your seat (into a bottle). :devil: Dock that, bitches. :devil: :devil:
(I can only agree with what's been already said, and can add "who put spiders in their hair?")
EDIT: ... pooping would be a difficulty. :blush:

SuperDan
03-22-2011, 05:53 AM
I wonder what they'd say if you managed to do a catheter-type setup and peed in your seat (into a bottle). :devil: Dock that, bitches. :devil:

There's always the old stagehand/followspot operator trick of bringing along an empty Gatorade bottle. (Yes, that is easier for men to do than women.) Or wear Depends.

If you're in the US and you can't find your state's labor department contact information, you can contact the US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-4-US-WAGE Monday-Friday 8am-5pm your local time. I believe they can research state violations as well as federal and can refer you to the approprate agency to report state violations.

dalesys
03-23-2011, 08:51 PM
There's always the old stagehand/followspot operator trick of bringing along an empty Gatorade bottle.
The big mouth Pepsi bottles also work...


Just don't mix up which one has the fresh Mountain Dew.:p

Daemonmonkey
03-25-2011, 08:24 AM
Here's what I found about my state's labor laws:

Employers are not required to give breaks for employees 18 and over. If your employer allows breaks, and they last less than 20 minutes, you must be paid for the break. If your employer allows meal periods, the employer is not required to pay you for your meal period if you do not work during your meal period and it lasts more than 20 minutes. A collective bargaining agreement may also govern this issue.

So employers here apparently don't even have to give their workers breaks at all (or have I misunderstood what was said?). But if collective bathroom time equals less than 20 minutes, wouldn't that mean it should be paid time? And I'm not nitpicking over whether or not I'm paid to pee...I'm just wondering if my company is doing something ELSE that's shady. I guess should I ever decide to write a complaint about their asses, I need letter fodder.

It states so in your quoted text. Bathroom break is allowed, unless they want to clean afterwards :devil::wave:

But do as others here say, call labor board and ask.

:devil: You could also yell when you see boss going to bathroom if she has punched out... :devil: