T-Mobile criticized for bathroom break policies
A former employee says she felt pressured to avoid the restroom and stay in her seat -- even while dealing with a difficult pregnancy.
A former employee at one of T-Mobile's call centers is coming down hard on the company for limiting her bathroom breaks when she was pregnant. Writing on the MomsRising.org website, Kristi Rifkin recounted her time working while dealing with a difficult pregnancy at a Nashville, Tenn., call center.
T-Mobile didn't tell Rifkin not to use the restroom, she wrote, but she was advised to stick to her "adherence" quota. In the call center business, companies gauge employee productivity by measuring adherence -- how many minutes they're working versus how many minutes they're scheduled to work. When you take a bathroom break, you take away minutes and start to push up against your adherence quota.
"The reality was that this is a metric on how your job is measured and if you don't meet it, then you do not have your job," Rifkin wrote. She said she got a doctor's note explaining that she needed to use the restroom frequently. Problem solved, except that T-Mobile made her clock out when she had to go, she wrote.
"They give you two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute lunch," Rifkin told ABC News. "If you can't take care of your biological needs in that time period, you don't go."
Rifkin said she ended up using vacation time to go to the restroom. She said she went on the Family Medical Leave Act seven weeks before her son was born. That act requires employers to offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees.
She said she was fired six weeks after returning to work because she didn't remove an extra-charge feature from a customer's account, according to ABC News.
A T-Mobile spokesman would not comment to ABC News about the specifics of Rifkin's case, but said that employees receive generous benefits.
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Just called T-Mobile and canceled my account because of this and recent issue with deceptive practices that Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson just filed against T-Mobile.
I too worked at T-Mobile some years back in one of their call centers. I can believe every word she said due to seeing first hand how T-Mobile verbally belittles thier reps to get them to conform and keep the supervisors numbers up. The pressure is very great. And yes I would compare it to a modern day sweat shop.
People taking an extra bathroom break every now and again is acceptable. However, it's the repeat offenders who put a drag on the call system. They overburden their fellow agents who are forced to handle their calls. If there is a temporary medical issue requiring more frequent breaks, it's documented and allowed in most cases.
Retired call center manager.....
Seriously! putting a time restriction on going to the bathroom....What kind of company is this?? One from the dark ages! Definitely NOT one I will EVER do business with!
I have relatives who have worked for T-Mobile recently and I can tell you they bleed their employees, who work the T-Mobile sales kiosks, to death all for the bottom line.
Kiosk employees work 12+ hours a day, no overtime, paid only straight time. Kiosk employees do not get any form of premium pay, despite state regulations, for Sunday work. They get no travel/mileage pay to attend mandatory meetings many miles away or in another state. No food allowance when traveling to a faraway meeting or for working 12+ hour days – especially alone. Since employee turnover is high (I wonder why) often only one employee staffs a kiosk for the entire day. Lunch and bathroom breaks are near impossible.
Not even the Wall street bottom dwellers treat their employees this shabbily and without regard.
I work at a call center and this is normal. Agents are always under constant pressure to end calls faster, improve customer satisfaction and maximize productivity.
If you lack In either, you will generally go through a process where you get extended training, warnings, and eventually termination.
There is not a single call center job in America as far as I know that doesn't put this amount of pressure on you.
In my job for example, they expect 95% of your calls will be a positive survey. Even though that customers are far more likely to complain than to complement. If I don't maintain my metrics, I will get fired. I also must solve all problems within 12 minutes, and if I don't I must send it to "tier 2". But while maintaining all of this, I must resolve at least 80% of my calls without sending it to tier 2.
I find my job really stressful, but it's no different than any other job I could get. When I was serving, there would be nights where I would be lucky if I made $80. My average night would be $50, and some nights would be as bad as $20.
I'm satisfied with my job, and as a help desk agent I can tell you most businesses aren't as ridiculous as they seem on paper. I'm positive she was given an ample amount of bathroom time. It was most likely she was spending a quite long time in the bathroom for them to even get that serious.
And I know many people will argue, "But she's pregnant and has a doctor's note." Well that doesn't matter. She was hired under a certain sense of requirements. If she is not able to do her job under those parameters, she needs to go on disability. It's not fair to put the burden of her pregnancy on the employer or to allow her to receive more time away from doing her job than other employees.
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