A former Amazon employee from Kentucky is taking the online retail giant to court over a small but important issue: bathroom breaks.
Nicolas Stover, who used to work at one of Amazon’s call centers, says he was accused of "time theft" by his supervisor for taking "excessive bathroom breaks."
In a lawsuit filed in Lexington, Stover complains that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not accounting for his Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic bowel condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Symptoms of the condition include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Patients with Crohn’s, and a similar bowel condition called Colitis, often complain that they need to make frequent and urgent trips to the bathroom.
Stover’s lawsuit calls out Amazon for "unyielding and inhuman policies regarding bathroom access," and complains that he was treated unfairly because his condition sent him to the bathroom more often than his coworkers.
According to Stover, at his call center employees were only given an hour for lunch and two 15 minute breaks a day, with another 20 minutes a week allotted for "personal time."
He complains that the company knew about his condition when he was hired, but his supervisor refused to accommodate his unscheduled bathroom breaks, or his requests to work closer to a bathroom to cut down on the one-to-two-minute walk he took on each trip.
Stover was fired just before Christmas 2017, and while no reason was given he claims a supervisor blamed the sacking on Stover’s "time theft."
Stover is seeking $3 million in damages for lost wages, and for complications that made his Crohn’s symptoms worse.
Amazon, which has more than half a million employees, has often come under fire for its penny-pinching view of employee time.
An undercover investigation in the U.K. found that Amazon’s warehouse workers were peeing in bottles and garbage cans to meet strict deadlines.
[H/T: The Seattle Times]