In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Amazon Facing Bathroom Break ADA Lawsuit

Amazon keeps on growing larger and larger, and with that size, managing employees can become more and more unmanageable, especially if a company tries to micromanage bathroom breaks.

Recently, Amazon was sued by a former call center employee that was terminated, allegedly for time theft, stemming from his bathroom breaks. Although unlimited bathroom breaks are not typically protected, under the ADA, a person with a disability that requires to take frequent bathroom breaks will likely be entitled to a reasonable accommodation, minimally. Allegedly, the employee may have been singled out using high-tech monitoring that found him to be less productive as a result of the breaks.

Tech-Discrimination

While technology may be able to truly serve businesses large and small by tracking everything to measure results, when the results tech provide aren't translated properly into human terms, or are based off bad data to begin with, there can often be unintended and discriminatory consequences.

This Amazon case seems to illustrate one misunderstanding between time tracking, performance metrics, and an employee with a medical condition. Curiously though, despite being reprimanded consistently for his bathroom breaks, the employee was promoted. But after he requested reasonable accommodation, Amazon terminated him.

Square Metrics in a Round Hole

For companies that are implementing high tech metrics tracking, it's important to keep the human element in mind when making any decision based upon those metrics. Additionally, when there's an anomaly, simply talking to the employee, rather than firing them based on what the data shows, might help you figure out why the data's awry.

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