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No pay for bathroom use in wi call center Wisconsin

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  • No pay for bathroom use in wi call center Wisconsin

    Hello. The company I work for recently was sold to a larger company. This new company is making a lot of changes and i have a question on one of them.

    I work at a call center, and starting last Tuesday we no longer get paid for any restroom time/breaks/lunch. I do understand that in Wisconsin it is not required to give paid breaks at all. However, is it legal for a company to require you to punch out each time you use the restroom, and then require you to make up the restroom time in order to make commission? We can use the restroom when we would like, and are allowed two ten minute breaks, but all of this is on our own time. Just doesn't seem right to me, please let me know if this is an ok practice or not. Thank you.

  • #2
    That depends on how long the breaks are.

    Under Federal law, while no breaks, paid or unpaid, are required by law, IF the breaks are for less than 20 minutes, they must be paid breaks. So the issue is not your clocking in and out, it is your not being paid for breaks of under 20 minutes. Requesting that you clock in and out is not in and of itself illegal, but if you are out for less than 20 minutes you would need to be paid for the time anyway.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Well it generally is under 5 minutes when I use the restroom. The breaks we get, that are not paid, are voluntary and are 10 minutes each.

      I feel that if I go after them for not paying for breaks they will just take them away from us completely as they are not required in Wisconsin. I just feel it is unfair that we are required to clock out when using the restroom, be it for 1 minute or 15 and are then required to make it up for bonus pay.

      Seems like a catch 22 in a way, in that they will allow me to take breaks as long as I don't rat them out for not paying for them + bathroom breaks. I really don't know what to do.

      Also, does us getting paid min wage + commission change this law at all?

      The other thing is that I was making $10.30/hr after three years of employment. With the new company I am going to minimum wage + commission. I'm sure this is perfectly legal, but is also a very hard change on me.
      Last edited by handro; 06-03-2010, 10:22 PM.

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      • #4
        No, the law about breaks does not change because of how you are paid.

        It's up to you if you want to take any action about this. All I can tell you is that they cannot legally refuse to pay you for breaks of under 20 minutes, including bathroom breaks. If you don't want to risk losing the breaks, that's up to you. OSHA requires that you be given sufficient time to use the restroom, but it is the DOL that determines how you have to be paid.

        If no one complains, nothing is going to change. You can always wait until you find another job and then file a complaint on your way out the door, but keep in mind that you can only go back so long. If you wait longer than, I believe it's two years, you may not get all the back pay you are due.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          Thank you for the help. I was thinking about just waiting until I leave and then file for unpaid wages, but how do I go about claiming how many hours were lost? They do require us to go into a special "aux" while using the restroom and taking breaks. Can dol require them to share these records or is this something I need to keep a daily log on?

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          • #6
            You keep a log. While the DOL can and very well may ask for records, in most states including yours, you do not have to prove you worked the hours you did; the employer has to prove you did not work the hours you say you did. If you keep a log (and keep it AT HOME, both the time you spend on it and the physical log itself), you'll be able to estimate more accurately when it comes time.

            Good luck.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by handro View Post

              The other thing is that I was making $10.30/hr after three years of employment. With the new company I am going to minimum wage + commission. I'm sure this is perfectly legal, but is also a very hard change on me.
              Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I think you can file for partial unemployment for the difference in your pay. I dont know how long ago the "new company" took over, but its just a thought.

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              • #8
                sevenfortythree, depends on the state. My current state of PA does not provide for partial benefits if you are still working full time.

                However, Wisconsin is not my state, so it wouldn't hurt for the OP to check with his state unemployment commission and ask.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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