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Chicago Company Limits Employee Bathroom Breaks to Six Minutes

July 22, 2014 1 min read

Last week, an unusual story came out of New York, where a Chicago-based hardware company reportedly limits employees to a 6-minute bathroom break each day in attempts to increase worker productivity.

WaterSaver Faucet Company even installed a swipe card device that tracks how much time each employee is in the bathroom. Those who manage to go the whole day without relieving themselves during work hours are rewarded with a gift card of up to $20 each month, or $1 a day.

A union, Teamsters Local 743, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board about the issue. “The company has spreadsheets on every union employee on how long they were in the bathroom,” union representative Nick Kreitman told CNN Money. “There have been meetings with workers and human resources where the workers had to explain what they were doing in the bathroom.”

As you can imagine, this can be a problem if someone suffers from urinary or fecal incontinence. People with other health problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease, prostate cancer and Crohn’s disease, also need to go the bathroom more often than the average person.

This policy may actually do more harm to employers than increase productivity. The average person urinates at least eight times a day, and “holding it in” can be damaging to the body. Not using the bathroom regularly can lead to painful urinary tract infections and dehydration.

What do you think about this policy and its incentive? Leave your comments below to discuss!


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