This story will astound you.
A 40-year-old pregnant woman who worked at a T-Mobile call center in Nashville, Tenn., says the company forced her to clock out just so she could use the bathroom.
Former T-Mobile employee Kristi Rifkin told ABC News that, even after being told to clock out, she still had to record all the times she used the bathroom and had to turn them in to her supervisor to prove she wasn't taking advantage of a doctor's note she had obtained for the privilege of using the toilet.
In a blog post published Thursday on MomsRising.org, Rifkin explained that T-Mobile had advised her to get the doctor's note because she had to visit the restroom frequently on account of a "difficult pregnancy" that required her to drink a lot of water. T-Mobile warned her she could lose her job for making too many trips to the toilet, Rifkin alleged in her post.
"Essentially the message was, 'You can go, but understand that if you don’t meet [your quota for time spent on the phone] at the end of the day, week and month, we have the opportunity to fill your seat,'" she wrote.
Rifkin told ABC she was fired by T-Mobile in the summer of 2010 -- about six weeks after giving birth -- for neglecting to remove an extra-charge feature from a customer's account. The commission for that extra-charge feature was just 12 cents.
"In addition to a 30-60 minute lunch break and two paid breaks of at least 15 minutes per day, T-Mobile hourly employees working in call center roles are able to take a reasonable amount of additional breaks as needed without any adverse effect on assessment of performance," T-Mobile spokesman Glenn Zaccara told The Huffington Post in an email. "When breaks become frequently in excess of the already generous paid breaks, we work together with our employee to see if there are ways to take additional time with pay, such as using FMLA [Family and Medical Leave Act] time and their generous paid time off benefits."
The story has a happy ending, though.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers make bathroom facilities available so that workers don't suffer from adverse health affects. But only nine states require that employees be paid for at least some of their bathroom breaks, and Tennessee isn't one of them.
(Hat tip, UPI)