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  • Restroom Breaks

    Ok, our company is in CA. We have an employee whom has notified us of her need to take frequent trips to the bathroom due to a medication that she is taking that requires that she drink a lot of water. Our company policy is that each employee receives 2 15 minute breaks and 1 1 hour lunch per 8 hour work day. A typical work day would be as such:

    IN: 8:00 a.m.
    (break) 9:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
    OUT (lunch): 12:00 p.m.
    IN (lunch): 1:00 p.m.
    (break) 2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    OUT: 5:00 p.m.

    Now our company policy allows each individual to be "away" from their work station (excluding lunch) for no more than 45 minutes per day. That is allowing the 2 15 minute breaks as well as 15 minutes of misc time for restroom breaks, etc...

    So finally, here is my question... this particular employee was told that if her away time exceeded the allowable amount that their could be consequences as far as reprimands, etc... She was told to use her breaks, lunch and her extra 15 minutes a day for restroom breaks and make sure that she didn't exceed her 45 minutes daily limit of "away" time.

    She claims that she is allowed to take as many restroom breaks as she needs and that we cannot tell her to use her breaks for restoom use because she is suppossed to be resting.

    Can we recommend to her to only use her required by law amount of 10 minutes at a time for her breaks and then leave the other 5 minutes of each break for a cushion for restroom time?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I feel that this policy is more than fair and just want to see if anyone sees another side to this or has any suggestions.

    Thanks

  • #2
    With all do respect, I think you're thinking it over too much. Yes, your employees have a lot of breaks away from their desks, but it only takes 5 minutes (if that) to run to the bathroom. I say pick your battles, and let the girl pee in peace.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hmmm...

      So you're saying that 45 minutes plus a 1 hour lunch, so a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes a day is not sufficient enough time to "pee" and that we should allow an employee who always seems to have a reason to get out of the phone queqe be away from her desk for unlimited amounts of time? Just a side note, she brought this up 2 days after being reprimanded for excessive "unavailable" time. Anyways, thanks for your input anyways, I do appreciate it even if I don't agree
      Last edited by hrmanager1; 09-08-2005, 08:12 PM.

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      • #4
        Excuse me, but have you ever have had to REALLY go? What do you want her to do, pee in her chair?

        This sounds like it may be an ADA issue and this is an accommodation she is asking for. However, I'll leave it to someone more knowledgeable in ADA to respond further.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          HaHa

          Yes Pattymd, I would like for her to pee in her chair, infact, I am thinking of providing her with a cup to keep at her desk for extreme emergencies.
          I really do appreciate the time that you took to respond however you are missing the point... if this individual was really only taking time away from her desk for necessary things like "peeing" then we would not have a problem. Our problem is when it is extremely excessive and no she does not qualify under ADA... she is a problem employee whom always is looking for a reason to not be working. Now my original questions was:

          Can we recommend to her to only use her required by law amount of 10 minutes at a time for her breaks and then leave the other 5 minutes of each break for a cushion for restroom time?

          Does anyone know the answer to this? Thanks for your help

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          • #6
            Are you 100% certain that she does not qualify for the ADA? Have you investigated to determine such?
            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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            • #7
              Well, the "medication" that she is taking is over the counter and is some type of appetite control thing. I highly doubt a "diet" supplement would qualify under ADA. If she has other medical issues we have absolutely no knowledge of them nor has she mentioned them at anytime. We did discuss the posibilty of an ADA accomodation with her but feel that with that explanation there is no way. Thanks CBG

              *** Also ***
              I am not saying that I don't agree that in some cases it in not appropriate or fair to limit bathroom breaks (I have a 2nd grader who's teacher follows a ridiculous policy on bathroom breaks and we've had several discussions about the problems with that) but what I am saying is that in this case I feel we are being more than fair but am more concerned about wether or not we could discuss reducing her break times down to 10 minutes each so the extra time could be saved for her frequent need to get out of her seat.
              Last edited by hrmanager1; 09-09-2005, 10:16 AM.

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              • #8
                I would have to agree with that it's unlikely that side effects to a weight control supplement qualify her for ADA protection. If she is morbidly obese, her weight itself MIGHT qualify her, but that even if that is the case, she doesn't get to pick what accomodation she gets.

                Case law states that an employee has to be granted reasonable time to use the rest room, but that is NOT the same thing as saying she has to be allowed to go whenever she wants.

                I would not recommend that you change her break times, but I do suggest that you let her know very firmly that in the absence of medical certification to the contrary she will be held to the 45 minute policy and it is up to her to see that she manages the time effectively.

                If, btw, she then provides a doctor's note saying she has to be allowed to leave whenever she wants, you have the right to get a second opinion from the doctor of YOUR choice (you get to pay for it).
                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


                • #9
                  Thank-you!

                  Thanks, I appreciate your response and agree it's probably not the best idea to change her break times.
                  Just out of curiosity, what line of work are you in CBG?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I am a human resources consultant with twenty five years experience in hr management and benefits administration.
                    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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                    • #11
                      That's great, well thanks for your help

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                      • #12
                        Hey, cbg, guess you justified your existence for today, huh?
                        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                        • #13
                          Maybe we all should do a formal intro....lol!
                          I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
                          Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
                          I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
                          Don't worry, be happy.

                          http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

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                          • #14
                            hey, Jack

                            I am a Payroll Manager for a large city and have been in payroll for over 27 years, including HRIS consulting and compensation and wage and hour expertise. I'm also really good at looking up stuff on the 'Net!
                            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                            • #15
                              I'm not a lawyer, but I have to chirp in on this.

                              Due to Congestive Heart Failure several years ago, my doctors keep me on a diuretic, usually there is not a problem. However, if I become involved in something and put off going, it can become a problem with me dashing to the bathroom at the last second. Like I said, usually not a problem, especially since I'm the boss.

                              Hrmanager1, if your problem with this employee going to bathroom excessively, then it's not much of a problem, and you should be able to handle it. A good compromise would go along way in setting an example of how much your company cares for it's employees and their working conditions.
                              Polices are great to have, but they don't mean crap if you don't have any employees to follow them!!

                              But, if this isn't really the problem and you are using this as an excuse, then that is a little cowardly. If you have a problem with this employee you should directly attend to it and address the real issues of the problem.

                              Being an HR manager gives you the title, being a leader and respected by your associates is something that is earned.

                              Restaurantowner12

                              Comment

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