What Would Shawn Do? Bathroom Breaks

shawn_mcvey

Q:

I have an employee who has recently started spending way too much time in the bathroom. I think she’s in there talking on her cell phone, and it’s not about work. What should I do?

 

A:

Aside from the obvious irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis, there is absolutely no reason your employee should be away from her post for that long of a period without a medical reason. As a service business, we rely on employees to be prompt and attentive so that we can provide clients with a sense of care beyond the medicine.

I would approach the employee immediately and keep the conversation focused on BEHAVIOR, meaning that she is away from her post and not performing the duties required by the job. The fact that she is in the bathroom is irrelevant. IF she is using the cell phone in the bathroom, you can’t prove that, but you can prove that she is away from her post. The truth is that she is away from her assigned position, not present on her job, and most likely not completing all of her duties. These behaviors alone should be enough to take corrective action.

When you confront the employee, be prepared for her to give the need to use the restroom as a defense. Use that opening to require her to get a doctor’s note that would justify the amount of time taken for medical breaks. IF this is a real medical issue, you may want to consider reassigning job duties to match her new needs.

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