7 Minutes to Poop: Sacramento DMV Workers Protest

Toilet stall (cw3283 / Flickr / CC)
cw3283 / Flickr / CC

The Sacramento DMV has decided too many of its employees are abusing the time it takes to go to the toilet.

Some employees from SEIU Local 1000 have filed grievances against the department for docking their pay or deducting leave time if they loiter in the toilet more than seven minutes.

The problem came to a head when managers at the Power Inn Road call center complained that their employees were using the toilet visit as an excuse to avoid their jobs.

DMV spokesman Jaime Garza would only tell the Sacramento Bee, “The DMV is aware of a grievance filed by the union and the DMV is in the process of preparing a response. The DMV takes these matters seriously and is looking into the allegations.” According to the Bee, the DMV charged that Dana Meza, a Local 1000 District Labor Council president, spent 63 minutes out of her 8 1/2 -hour shift away from her desk one day. The call center manager reported that Meza’s absences were “not authorized,” and she did not “communicate with her manager that she needed to be away from her desk.”

Meza responded that the actual time she was away from her desk to use the bathroom amounted to 29 minutes, adding, “Those reports are bogus.”

The union pointed out that in one case, an employee who “has difficulty maneuvering throughout the worksite” was charged sick leave “for using the restroom for more than an hour.”

According to The Department of Labor, if an employer allows employees to take breaks, breaks from 5 to 20 minutes must be counted as hours worked. These breaks can smoke breaks, restroom breaks, personal telephone calls or visits, or leaving to obtain coffee or soft drinks.

The Department adds: “Note, however, that you need not count unauthorized extensions of authorized breaks as hours worked when you have expressly and unambiguously advised the employee that the break may only last for a specific length of time and that any extension of the break is contrary to your rules and will be punished.”



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