Thursday, November 14, 2013
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION: WORKERS TOLD THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO A BATHROOM BREAK, OR ANY BREAK AT ALL
I have been trying to stick to the esoteric and mystical, but an incomprehensible and atrocious human rights violation has come to my attention, and I simply cannot keep quiet.
Can you imagine being told that an employer is not required to give you a break for any reason, including going to the bathroom, regardless of the work you do, or the length of your workday? If you were to be fired for taking a bathroom break, it would not be investigated. If you don't like it, go work somewhere else.
You've seen those headlines, right? Chinese factory locks women in for twelve hour days sewing t-shirts for Wal-Mart, employees not allowed to use toilet facilities? US (or UN or whatever) to sanction China, etc?
Well, I am not talking about China, I am talking about the US of A. Today I spoke with what I assume was a human being at the Missouri Department of Labour. I am used to care-free Cali, with it's (perhaps formerly) employee-friendly labour laws, which include a paid ten minute break for every two hours of work, and mandatory half hour unpaid lunch break for any shift over 6 hours.
Imagine my surprise at discovering that not only does Missouri not require employees get a break, but also under federal law there is no break requirement. (If an employer DOES give breaks to employees, the Federal government regulates those, but breaks are not a requirement. States CAN require that employees be given a break. But it is state by state.)
An employer can legally require you to take a piss test, but is not legally obligated to let you take a piss while working.
Now, if you are discriminated against for disability or race, that is another thing. Or if all the other employees are given a break and you are not, and you can show that you were personally discriminated against, they will "investigate". But basically, Missouri is a "RIGHT TO WORK" to state, which means, you have the right to work but not to pee and if you don't like it, don't work there.
I also learned that employers can record you (and their customers) both audio and visual, and to control you socialising with other employees (if an employer forbids you to have contact with co-workers outside of work, probably to prevent unionising).
Basically, the only thing they can't tell you is who to vote for. As you can see, your politicians are working very hard to make sure your "freedom" to give them a job is a safe.
But your bladder and intestines? Screw that. There are more regulations on a woman's uterus than there is on a worker's bladder.
God bless America, right? Thank Goddess I am Pagan. Right now, I wish I there was some way to opt out of being an American.
NO LEGAL RIGHT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM. Remember that next time you hear someone talking about jobs, free-market, and the American Way.
BTW, if you pee your pants, you will be fired. And forget unemployment, your employer controls that, too.
Spread the word. Please.
Link to Federal Law
Minors in the entertainment industry are very protected, ask anyone, including me, that has ever worked on a film set with minors. One of the reasons twins are so popular, the laws regarding how much and for how long they can work are very strictly governed. Thank the film unions for that.
Link to Missouri Law
For your state, Google "employee breaks" and your state Dept of Labor.
PS- Why isn't THIS the top story on every news broadcast? Obamacare, yo'mama care, you don't have the right to pee while someone is paying you $7.35 an hour.
EDIT: Someone just sent me this link. In further hilarity, OSHA requires bathrooms be made available, but no break required for people to use them. The article has it all wrong (the idiot that wrote it read the part about the employer designated breaks being regulated and assumed that meant breaks were guaranteed).
It does provide a link where you can see the five states that legally allow you to go the bathroom without getting fired. Illinois is one of them.
EDIT EDIT: Sorry, for clarification purposes, I was not fired from a job for using the bathroom, but I did work at a store where employees were not allowed any breaks at all, except to use the toilet, even when another employee was there. In California that is illegal. Until I called the Missouri Department of Labor (are those human beings that work there? Or are they those Reagan era aliens from the movie They Live?) I did not know that workers have no legal right to take a bathroom break.
The whole "right to work" and overprotection of employers and underprotection of employees is shocking to me, even before learning this. An employer has the right to check my background, credit, and piss. But I am not allowed to check theirs. I cannot tell you how many small businesses I have worked for that did not keep adequate payroll funds, usually because the owner was out buying him or herself new shoes or vacations or drugs. Why do I not have the same right to check out an employer? Why is there not financial transparency on all businesses? I am expected to commit myself to an employer but if that employer is a bad manager and the business closes down or goes bankrupt without paying me, I have very little recourse to get my money. Not to mention I am out of a job because my employer did not do his. How is that fair?
Of course, the Federal Government proved that it is a terrible employer. Look forward to that shut down again in January.
I don't understand a country that does not insure that workers are treated like human beings. I don't know what to do change this. All I can do is write this blog and hope people read it, and maybe a strong worker's rights movement will begin to grow.