A T-Mobile call center in Nashville, Tennessee, has become the site of concern over workers’ rights – requiring a doctor’s note for using the restroom will do that.
The employee in question was Kristi Rifkin, who had been working at the call center for four years. After those four years, she became pregnant. As it turns out, the pregnancy was to be a difficult one, and one of her doctor’s orders was to drink lots and lots of water. Well, drinking lots and lots of water has its consequences, one being that you end up needing to use the toilet a lot. That’s the part that turned out to be a problem.
In a call center, employees often need to meet a certain monthly quota of time spent on the phone at work. Extra bathroom breaks outside the allotted 30 minute lunch and two 15 minute breaks cut into that policy, putting Rifkin at risk of being fired. After trying to cut down on her water intake and finding that it put her baby at risk, Rifkin kept drinking the amount of water she needed to, and those bathroom breaks became an affront to the call center, to the point where her supervisor requested a doctor’s note. For going to the bathroom.
As ridiculous as the request was, Rifkin went along with it. But, it didn’t end there – she was then required to clock out whenever she needed to go to the bathroom. While pregnant, and needing to drink copious amounts of water to ensure the safety of her child. These clock outs cut into her vacation time, which has to be the saddest use of vacation time, ever.
She used the Family Leave Medical Act to get 12 weeks of unpaid leave before she gave birth. She was fired a month and a half after going back to work for not removing a 12-cent overcharge on a customer’s bill, which, yeah, that’s totally reasonable.
Basically, all you need to see is “bathroom” and “doctor’s note” to know that something, somewhere, has gone horribly wrong. Tennessee, a state where employers are free to fire employees at will, without cause (excepting discrimination) allows for this kind of termination, probably because Rifkin got terminated after she gave birth, rather than before. The overcharge reason smacks of convenience. Anyway, point is that it’s a sad day when you need your boss to say it’s OK for you to use the restroom when you actually need to use the restroom.
Via Yahoo! News