US/World

Pregnant Woman Forced to Use Vacation Time for Bathroom Breaks

Kristi Rifkin and family
A pregnant TMobile employee was forced to clock in and out during bathroom breaks.

Kristi Rifkin says she ended up having to use vacation time to take bathroom breaks after a doctor-recommended increase in water intake led to frequent trips to the bathroom during work hours.

Rifkin, a 40-year-old mother of three, worked at T-Mobile's Call Center in Nashville for four years prior to getting pregnant with her third child. According to ABC News, when her pregnancy became difficult, Rifkin's obstetrician recommended that she drink more than usual amounts of water. She obtained a note from her doctor verifying this fact and cleared it with human resources at her job.

What happened next is what's surprising. Rifkin was told to clock out every single time she left her desk to go to the bathroom and clock back in when she returned. After that, she had to record her hours and turn them in to her supervisor.

Rifkin admitted in a post on MomsRising that frequently leaving to go to the bathroom interfered with "adherence," a system used in call centers to measure whether employees meet their quota for time spent on the phone. Leaving to go to the bathroom every half hour would hypothetically cut into call time.

When Rifkin was finally at her wit's end, Rifkin researched the Family Medical Leave Act, which allows employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid medical leave. She took the time off without pay, came back, and was fired a month and a half after returning.

Rifkin was fired after an error she made while removing charges from a customer's account, but she believes she was let go for asserting her right to take time off during her final weeks of pregnancy. If she does decide to sue, Rifkin could cite pregnancy discrimination, a very real problem in many professional settings. However, she says that she has no plans to sue T-Mobile because it may be expensive.

Loading...