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May 1, 2013. T-Mobile forced a pregnant employee to clock out every time she used the restroom, even after she obtained, by company request, a doctor’s note urging her to drink more water...
And then? The employee, a clearly well educated woman named Kristi Rifkin, provides the full story in her own blog on
... It was a very, very rough pregnancy. I was taking medication to keep me from going into labor. I was going to the doctor twice a week, seeing both a regular obstetrician and a high-risk obstetrician. I had to drink a lot of water and go to the bathroom pretty frequently, which is what normal pregnant women do.

But my company warned me getting up to use the toilet would cut into what people in the call center industry call “adherence” – a metric that measures the degree to which employees stick to their schedules. Being on the phone was my job, so if I wasn’t, I risked being written up and possibly fired...

So I held off eating and drinking. I just couldn’t afford to lose my job or my health insurance during such a high-risk pregnancy...

My supervisor said if I had a medical necessity to use the toilet, I should go get a note from my doctor. And my doctor thought I was crazy...

After a long consultation with H.R. to make sure it would be air tight, I got the doctor’s note, so I was free to go to the bathroom whenever I needed. But T-Mobile was absolutely not going to pay me for going to the toilet. So every time I needed to go, I had to clock out and lot out of the system. Then I had to write it down and turn it into resource planning – just to make sure it I wasn’t gone an unreasonable amount of time! ...

I was using intermittent FMLA and my vacation time to use the bathroom and go to doctors’ appointments...

But of course the story doesn't end there. ABC News:
...She finally went on the Family Medical Leave Act, which requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees,  seven weeks before her son, Ian, was born, on May 14, 2010. A month and a half after she returned to work she was fired, she said.

The reason?  Rifkin says she was summarily fired after she failed to remove an extra-charge feature from a customer’s account, the commission for which was 12 cents. She says the rare error occurred when she either forgot to remove the charge or removed another charge instead.

She got no severance, she said, and now pays for medical expenses out of pocket.
Rifkin said she has no plans to sue the company; it’s too expensive, and Tennessee is an at-will employment state. “They can fire you for any reason,” she said.

The US. Department of Labor reports that only eight states require paid rest periods and Tennessee is not among them...

Absolutely disgusting.

Once upon a time, I was a T-Mobile customer, for many years. When the iPhone came out, I switched to AT&T. Now, there's a T-Mobile iPhone too, and they're promoting an unlimited data plan. But having read this article, I wouldn't go back to T-Mobile for all the free gigabytes in China, and I won't link to their iPhone page. (You can easily find it if you wish.)

AT&T is far from an angelic company. But if T-Mobile believes that the appropriate consequences for an employee who has the gall to become pregnant and then develop what sounds (from the full description given in the linked articles) very much like pre-eclampsia (also often called "toxemia", a condition which can become life-threatening to the fetus and even to the mother if not properly treated) include the loss of your job for a trumped up error of twelve fucking cents, even for a very conscientious and hard-working employee, then they surely must understand that the consequences of being a disgustingly retrograde, penny-pinching, employer that treats their employees like disposable pieces of cheap plastic, include the well-deserved loss of customers who care about more than saving a few dollars a month on data plans.

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