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Is Disneyland's 'Electronic Whip' Illegal?

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on October 21, 2011 1:09 PM

Disneyland Hotel laundry workers answer to what they call the "electronic whip."

Basement laundry rooms are outfitted with large flat screen monitors that keep track of employee efficiency. Each person is listed, followed by a number representing their current speed.

Everyone can see who is the quickest--and slowest--inciting both competition and dissension amongst colleagues, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Ordinarily, keeping tally of an employee's efficiency isn't illegal. Disneyland Hotel workers have been tracked manually for years, according to the Times. The practice is also fairly standard in the industry.

But what about the very public electronic whip? Is it different?

It's not that the whip is different; it's that it seems to have a different effect.

Employees are skipping bathroom breaks out of fear, according to an official with Unite Here Local 11. Some also expressed concern for a pregnant colleague.

In California, employees should receive two paid 10-minute breaks during an 8-hour shift. An employee can choose to skip his break, but an employer cannot pressure an employee to make this decision.

Based on the above details, it can be argued the electronic whip pressures employees to skip breaks.

It also seems to have the effect of embarrassing and singling out persons who may be disabled, pregnant or further along in age. This could lead to a hostile work environment, which would violate anti-discrimination laws.

None of this is to say that Disney intended such consequences. But it might be in its best interest to reevaluate the electronic whip and its impact on Disneyland Hotel workers.

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