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Other Can my employer do this?

Discussion in 'General' started by Behemoth, 3 Mar 2016.

  1. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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    It would appear my employer wants to take action against me, for spending too much time in the toilet of all things.

    A bit of background, I work in a call centre taking in bound calls giving advice on consumer law issues on behalf of Citizens Advice. The work is outsourced to another company, whilst I have said their name in previous threads I'm not going to in this one which is the company I work for.

    The issue is we are being clocked watched all the time. We are allowed 12 minutes each on top of our normal breaks to goto the the toilet. So in essence thats a visit to the toilet 3 times in one day. Sometimes one requires longer than 4 minutes per visit and I fall into that category sometimes. Some of it is to do with the Arthritis I have in my knee and it means I can stay sat down in one place for too long without needing to get up and move around.

    There are other times when you've had a ranty caller and need to take some time to chill get some water etc.

    For the last 4 months I've been a total of 3.3% total personal time as they call it, and we are only allowed a total of 3% - so they are arguing over 0.3%.

    It used to be much higher but I have greatly reduced the time I take but I really can't knock it down any further. They seem to want us to basically not use the facilities - but I refuse to sit here desperate for a leak/dump/in pain because a few calls needs answering.

    Work are now asking for a doctors note, which I can't get as it's not considered an emergency appointment and my GP can't see me for 6 - 8 weeks !

    Just wondering if anyone has any experience on this at all ?
     
  2. Seeks

    Seeks Minimodder

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    As far as I am aware they only have to give you a 20 min break per day (normally lunch) and toilet breaks are not mandatory. Having said that, if you have medical reasons for it they can not deny you extra toilet breaks, or extended time taking them (due to arthritis). They can ask for a doctors note for this.

    I found an interesting read (here: http://hr-24.co.uk/professional-insights/busting-busted-rules-toilet-breaks/) - same situation call centre working getting pay docked for toilet breaks.
     
  3. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    They want you on the phones all the time. I did some temp work at a call center and ended up there for two years nearly (mostly due to me enjoying it for a while) and we didn't even get to choose whether we answered the phone or not. We had to wear headsets that auto answered making going to the toilet hard. So they knew exactly when we were going to the toilet. TBH I used to use that time to clear my head, especially after dealing with a douche customer.

    But yeah they definitely watch your every move in these sorts of jobs.
     
  4. goldstar0011

    goldstar0011 Multimodder

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    Had similar at an ISP once, they could be flexible but sometimes too picky over time, you'd make a brew for the team and manager but then get pulled as to why it took so long.

    If it's just a verbal warning, personally I'd take it on the chin and start considering my options.

    Hopefully they're just flexing their muscles to make sure everyone's in line.

    Good luck
     
  5. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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    I've been doing this job for the last 5 years give or take, and its only now becoming an issue as we have a new call center manager.

    I reach all of the other targets and often exceed them, it's just this toilet time cobblers.
     
  6. goldstar0011

    goldstar0011 Multimodder

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    Probably it, new manager trying to prove their worth.
    Great way to get the staff on side
     
  7. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    They used to watch everything we did. Even cigarette breaks. You had to clock out, they didn't pay for any of it.

    As Goldstar says it's probably some new douche manager wanting to flex his muscles.
     
  8. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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    What makes it worse is the new manager is a woman. Would have expected some sympathy.
     
  9. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    You won't get any of that in a call center dude. They're horrible places. All so mechanical and non stop. I just felt like a veal calf when I worked in one. Chained to a desk being forced to take calls.

    The only reason I stuck it out was because for a while I was turning good coin. Around $700 a week in skin product sales. Then, as all good call centers do, they changed the commission structure and I was then earning half that.

    I would never, ever work in one again.
     
  10. jrduquemin

    jrduquemin Minimodder

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    Why would you expect sympathy? Not to poo-poo (no pun intended) your situation, but women managers can be just as hard-assed as men in that position. Something to do with power being corrupting I think.

    Our regional director is a woman, and she's a pain-in-the ass who bullies her way round and thereby forces people to leave because they can't stand her....
     
  11. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Our HR manager was horrible. She absolutely loved coming out and telling every one about new pay structures that ensured they were trapped earning close to minimum wage.

    You won't get sympathy (if that's what you want, I prefer to use empathy) in a call center. You are expendable, you are replaceable. Nothing is sacred. You are a machine that answers the phone then sticks to a script and then reads rebuttals when the customer wants to leave/does not want what you have.
     
  12. Atomic

    Atomic Gerwaff

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    Assuming a 40 hour working week, 0.3% is 7.2 minutes a week. This is not a significant amount of time, but when the call centre has a large number of staff that all take liberties (when they aren't entitled to them) this soon adds up to many working hours lost.

    So long as you have disclosed you disability to your employer they are required by law to to make "reasonable adjustments" to ensure that you are not disadvantaged. https://www.gov.uk/reasonable-adjustments-for-disabled-workers

    If you've not disclosed your Arthritis you need to do so. This might be why they are asking for a doctors note to ensure that you aren't trying to pull a fast one on them.

    One you have a Doctors note you need to ask for an appointment with HR to discuss your requirements. The business will have to take these seriously as they will not want any legal action for not complying with disability law.

    HR are unlikely to just say 'take longer breaks that's fine', you may well get offered flexible hours (read longer) to account for your need for longer breaks.

    Do realise that HR aren't impartial, as they are employed by the business to ensure that the business comply with employment law, they aren't there to help you specifically. If you need impartial advice you will need to seek private legal advise.

    edit: As has already been said, call centres are production lines where the workers are expendable. Outsourcing companies get paid for the job they are contracted to do. Most likely they only get paid per minute of incoming calls, but are paying you hourly so they are loosing money when you aren't answering the phone. Sadly if you don't like the way the company is going, it's time for you to start looking elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: 3 Mar 2016
  13. julianmartin

    julianmartin resident cyborg.

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    And you have that expectation because....? I'm not a feminist by any means but yeah...I can't imagine you'll get much sympathy if you walk around thinking like that.
     
  14. DeckerdBR

    DeckerdBR Minimodder

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    I don't normally wade into general/real life discussions on this forum and the advice given is already decent but if I may offer my opinion here.

    Go find an alternative employer if you can, those big call center environments are nearly all like that and any company, or new boss who is so anal about minutes here or there is not worth working for. Do yourself a favor and find an employer who won't treat you like a pleb.
     
  15. mrlongbeard

    mrlongbeard Multimodder

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    Have you tried going to the toilet before going out to work?
     
  16. legoman

    legoman breaker of things

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    Annoyingly "Comfort breaks" they will usually say need to be taken in your own time. We had a health drive here to get us drinking more water. they then noticed the amount people used the toilet went up so that vanished very quickly.
    As said though HR wont say its fine they will refer to some document or other.

    Re the female HR person being worse than a male one. Shouldn't make any difference. Place I worked years ago or old MR manager went on maternity. New one comes in an she made everyones life hell.
     
  17. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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  18. Pookie

    Pookie So this is permanence, love's shattered pride.

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    You've gained weight Nick :p
     
  19. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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    Yup - doesn't stop you wanting/needing to go doing the job though.

    If I was clearly taking the pith with it then yeah fair enough. It's not so much the fact I've been pulled up on it, its the margin of it that gets right up my nose.

    I'm there on time, I'm logged in when I'm expected to be, I take the highest number of calls and have the best stats for the whole center and whilst I'm not trying to use this as a get out jail free card I'm more peeved that its so damn petty over such a small amount of time.

    They fail to take into consideration the number of times you've taken a call at 3 minutes to 5 and you're still on it by 5:10 pm when they only pay till 5. I've worked out in a month they've had well over an hours worth of unpaid time out of me, which in my book balances it out. I was running a spread sheet on that till some twit of a colleague thought it would be fun to switch my work PC with one that doesn't have all my files on it and for the life of me I can't find the flaming machine as I think the new agents have got it.

    There are people in there that get away with far far worse ! Like always being late, by 5 - 10 mins without a valid excuse. People swinging the lead with sickness etc.

    I am keeping my eye out for another job, hell if I was allowed to by she who must be obeyed I want to go self employed doing my own thing. Bit of buying & selling, fixing PC's and building etc.
     
  20. Pete J

    Pete J Employed scum

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    Wow. I can't even begin to imagine what my reaction would be if my employee genuinely approached me with something like this.

    I find the comment about a woman would be a kinder manager quite funny in a way! One of the female supervisors I've had was a nice person but her work/life balance was incredibly skewed in the work direction (IMHO). This meant that she seemed to have a poor understanding in how long a task should actually take and would start to get riled when a task wasn't complete on time eventually I switched jobs after getting sick of the constant expectation to work a LOT of overtime.
     

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