Post Saying Workers Will Be Timed On 5-Minute Toilet Breaks Sparks Outrage

A note from company brass to employees regarding threats about timed bathroom breaks is being met with a lot of internet responses saying it is illegal.

The memo, which seems to have been published on a work-specific Facebook group, was posted on Reddit's "Anti-Work" forum by a user named Lizard_Wizard. It has been upvoted over 28,000 times.

"Stuff like this happens at my GF work all the time," the poster said, blocking out the names of management at the unspecified company.

"Starting next week [name redacted] will have a timer and you will also carry a timer to the bathroom," the message said. "If you go over 5 minutes [name redacted] will call the office and you will be clocked out for 15 minutes.

"You will NOT be able to make this time up at lunch break or the rest of the day," the message continued. "We just addressed this issue on Tuesday and people are still abusing the 5 minute bathroom break."

Newsweek reached out to the Reddit poster for comment, but as Redditors mentioned, timed bathroom breaks in the United States are "literally against the law" and others called such correspondence a lawsuit waiting to happen.

One user sarcastically asked when American workers would "start piloting work worn catheters and colostomy bags."

"The US is full of authoritarian wannabes," another poster commented. "I would argue that it is due to the culture in general. Winning. Money being equated to merit. Real men. Boss b**thes."

Time Sheet
A message allegedly posted by an employer higher-up to workers saying that bathroom breaks would be timed has drawn backlash from people online. iStock/Getty Images

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Education Center states that "employers may not impose unreasonable restrictions on restroom use, and employees should not take an excessive amount of time during bathroom breaks."

Along with basic sanitation and available toilet facilities having to be offered to employees in a workplace, OSHA says that "individuals vary significantly in the frequency with which they need to urinate and defecate." Such individuals include pregnant women, women with stress incontinence, men with prostatic hypertrophy needing to urinate more frequently, those prescribed various medications, environmental factors like cold weather, and high fluid intake possibly necessary by individuals working in hot environments.

"Medical studies show the importance of regular urination, with women generally needing to void more frequently than men," OSHA reported, citing one study in particular. "Adverse health effects that may result from voluntary urinary retention include increased frequency of urinary tract infections, which can lead to more serious infections and, in rare situations, renal damage."

Constipation, abdominal pain, diverticulitis and hemorrhoids are listed as other potential factors that could lead to longer time spent in restrooms.

"I have IBS, I do not tell my job," one Redditor said. "I had a boss that called me out for using the restroom for 12 minutes, actually came in under the guise of CHECKING on me, to make sure I was ok. Same boss that criticized me taking 3 paper towels from the dispenser to dry my hands."

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 2016 that a judge forced a Pennsylvania company called American Future Systems Inc. to pay about 6,000 workers a collective $1.75 million in back pay and damages for forcing employees to clock out during bathroom breaks at offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio between July 2009 and July 2013.

And in other bathroom news, experts weighed in on the "perfect" bathroom color, which is what one DIY used in their $300 remodel that wowed the internet, which is the opposite of how people felt about this awful toilet seat.