Bathroom Monitor: The Newest HR Pro Title

I love HR.  I’m always on the lookout for the next latest and greatest HR title, so this is an exciting day!  The WaterSaver Faucet Company in Chicago, a great Union town, decided to add “Bathroom Monitor” to the duties HR is now responsible for. Check it out:

“If you work at WaterSaver Faucet Company, when you gotta go, you might not want to go.

The Chicago company installed a new system that monitors bathroom breaks and penalizes employees who spend more than six minutes a day in the washroom outside their normal breaks.

“The HR woman literally goes through every person’s bathroom use and either hands out a reward or discipline,” said Nick Kreitman, an attorney for Teamsters Local 743, which represents 80 workers at the plant, which coincidentally manufactures taps and other sink fixtures.

Employees who don’t use extra breaks get a dollar a day while others who exceed more than one hour in a 10-day period will get a warning, which can lead to termination, he said.”

Now, you probably think this is where I’ll rant about how being a Bathroom Monitor isn’t strategic and demeaning to HR Pros. But, I’m not. In this case, workers are getting what they have asked for.

If you act like a child, employers are forced to treat you like a child.  Adults use the bathroom for reasons G*d intended. Children use the bathroom for that reason and about a hundred others.  Have you ever spent time in an elementary school!?!  I have.  I taught elementary aged children.  The bathroom is a place to go when you’re bored in class to waste time. The bathroom is where mischief happens.

Watersaver HR is doing what is has to, to solve an employee problem it is having.  Employees were taking an advantage of unlimited bathroom breaks that the employer had given to them.  It wasn’t everyone, but it was enough that Watersaver felt the need to make changes.  Employees can still take a bathroom break any time they need, but once a certain amount of time is taken up over a ten day period, it starts to become a disciplinary issue.

Do I agree with this type of strategy? No.

Here’s how I would have handled it.  I would have had the managers who were having issues with a few employees taking too many bathroom breaks, get rid of those employees who were abusing the privilege of unlimited breaks.  I would have sent the message, that we don’t put up with childish behavior.  We want adults to work here.

You know what? The other employees, the majority, also want to work with other adults.  They would have applauded this. Because adults hate when they are working their butts off and others, doing the same job, are goofing off.  We are talking about medical need here.  We are talking about adults who don’t want to work for the money they are being paid. Those people have to go bye-bye.

That’s the type of strategy I would have rather seen Watersaver take.

3 thoughts on “Bathroom Monitor: The Newest HR Pro Title

  1. The next complaint they will get at WaterSaver will be employees going NASA-style on them and filling the trash cans with used Depends. The whole place will end up smelling like a hog lot. I wonder if the union has thought of that. And good news for HR there – she now gets to learn who has incontinence and ostomy issues once they bring in their doctor’s note for accommodation.

  2. Tim, although I agree with you on the following point: the majority of employees want to work as adults and with adults. I disagree with you on “getting rid” of employees who spend to much time in the washroom.

    Tim, you forgot one very important point: This is a unionized workplace and therefore the cost of terminating an employee for using to many minutes in the washroom would lead to a host of legal issues and challenges. These challenges would be at a huge cost to the business. Regardless of how “sound and just” the terminations were, the Union would fight them.

    I actually applaud this Company for solving this challenge and limiting union interference.

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