Skip to comments.Jim Beam stops policy limiting bathroom breaks
Posted on 09/07/2002 1:52:55 AM PDT by sarcasm
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- After an outcry from employees and labor officials, bourbon maker Jim Beam on Friday dropped its policy of limiting bathroom breaks for workers at a Kentucky distillery.
Since October, bottling line workers at the company's Clermont, Ky., plant have been limited to four breaks per 8 1/2 hour shift. Workers who took extra trips were reprimanded, and six violations resulted in dismissal.
The rules outraged workers and drew a citation from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, which called the policy illegal.
Jim Beam Brands CEO Rich Reese defended the restrictions Friday but said workers' concerns were more important.
"We've listened to the concerns of our employees and have changed our policy," Reese said from headquarters in Deerfield, Ill.
The union said some employees wore protective undergarments because they were afraid of breaking the policy. The company said it imposed the restrictions because workers had abused the old policy that allowed unlimited breaks.
"I am really glad to hear that they've come to their senses," union leader Jo Anne Kelley said.
The decision to rescind the bathroom policy came during a hearing this week on whether the state should overturn its reprimand, which did not include a fine.
The bathroom restrictions had applied to about 100 bottling-line workers at the approximately 300-employee plant, which produces 5 million cases of bourbon a year. No other Jim Beam plant was affected.
Krystal Ditto, who was one violation away from being fired, expressed relief.
"Nobody should have to go to work with that kind of fear," she said.
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