Australian Court Declares Workers Have A Legal Right To Bathroom And Water Breaks
An interesting court ruling has been handed down in Australia and it's something you might not have thought was necessary to say.
The Federal Court has, for the first time ever, declared that workers have a legal right to go to the toilet or drink water while at work.
Loads of people would shrug and say 'duh, of course we do', but that type of activity wasn't allowed at one restaurant franchise in the country. The manager of the restaurant said the company had no obligation to let them go to the bathroom outside scheduled breaks.
Essentially, if you needed to do your business or grab a drink, you had to do it outside your rostered shift or do it on your actual lunch break.
The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union brought the case to the Federal Court, arguing the franchise wasn't giving employees a 10 minute break for shifts over four hours, which is part of their enterprise agreement.
The restaurant hit back at the allegation, saying that if the 10-minute break rule was adopted then staff would be banned from using the bathroom or having a sip of water outside that time period.
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The manager wrote on a Facebook post to staff: "What this means is that if we implement this over our current situation, on your shift - this 10 minute break would be the only time you would ever be permitted to have a drink or go to the toilet.
"So I hope to god you don't get thirsty on your next shift because we just wouldn't be able to allow a drink. Fair is fair right?"
One employee said she was owed around $800 in effectively lost wages because she wasn't given her 10 minute breaks. She was also claiming $1,000 in compensation.
Justice John Logan ruled that that decision isn't fair and has declared that staff are allowed to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water whenever they need.
"The right to access the toilet or a drink of water was, in my view, a workplace right," he said.
Because a ruling of this kind has never been seen in Australia, Justice Logan had to use a similar declaration from Ohio to help him in handing down the judgement.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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