My mornings are pretty easy. I wake up around 8 a.m. to shower, eat some breakfast, have some coffee and do my best to make it to the office around 9:30 a.m.
I then proceed to power on my computer (always turning it off the night before to be “eco-friendly” as I tell my boss) and head to the break room to get my second cup of coffee for the day while it takes its time booting up.
After some pointless small talk with whoever is around, I typically get back to my desk around 9:45 a.m., and begin to go through my voicemails and emails while muttering a few obscenities to myself along the way.
Then 10:30 a.m. rolls around, I feel that pain in my gut and I go take my daily bathroom break.
The bathroom break is a staple of my morning routine because after it I know it’s back to the grind for another day. It is when I can mentally prepare myself for the day ahead and browse through Twitter and Facebook to ease my mind before life gets all too real. If I miss my morning bathroom break, it throws off the entire day. I’m sure many can relate.What makes it even better is that I’m still getting paid.
Honestly, I could write a whole column about this, but as I’m reminded all too often, life isn’t all about yourself. Especially when there are employees in this country being forced to clock-out before using the restroom. If you think that sounds unconstitutional— or just plain cruel— you are correct.
As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, it happened.
A Malvern company that publishes newsletters on business topics, including one titled “Keeping Up to Date on Payroll,” will face a bill of an estimated $1.75 million to pay 6,000 employees docked for bathroom and other short breaks.
“No worker should have to face the choice: Do I take a bathroom break, or do I get paid?” said Adam Welsh, a senior trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Philadelphia office.
Damn right, Mr. Welsh. How you and the Department of Labor even learned of this bathroom travesty, who knows, but this is one lawsuit I’ll gladly send my tax dollars toward.
The strangest part is that this company would’ve been in the clear if it didn’t allow any breaks in the first place.
According to the Inquirer:
The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require companies to give workers short personal breaks – under 20 minutes. But if employers offer those breaks, they have to pay workers for them.
Not being allowed “personal breaks” at work may be an all-time PGP, but truthfully what I’m taking away from this whole debacle is that I now know my bathroom breaks are legally allowed to be 20 MINUTES without repercussions. Learn something new every day..
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