British employers are accused of breaching health and safety legislation as a trade union uncovers widespread evidence of employees and workers being denied access to basic facilities.
It's one thing having to queue for a busy loo, but being forced to urinate in a bucket is quite another. According to Unite, this is an indignity being suffered by employees working at a high-street bank.
Aside from facilities, workers have been restricted in the times that they can make use of toilet breaks and forced to 'log-off' when taking a break.
Restrictions such as these may not only fall foul of health and safety legislation (which could lead to prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive), but equality legislation too. Employees who are disabled in particular may require adjustments to be made to their work patterns, location or facilities to accommodate them in the performance of their duties. This might also extend to pregnant women and others who have specific needs.
There has been a move across many sectors to address the growing need for female toilets, with theatres and law courts being some of the public buildings that have historically failed to cater for women.
Unite's threat to 'name and shame' those who are underserving their staff and denying them toilet dignity should be avoided by employers who take action in their own workplaces.
If this is something that causes you concern in your own workplace, or you require advice on making adjustments for employees, do contact me at email@example.com
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Unite said it had uncovered evidence of staff at branches of big high-street banks being required to urinate in buckets, and construction sites failing to provide any female toilets. Bus drivers had been denied toilet breaks for up to five hours, and workers in call centres for big financial institutions were told to log in and out to take a toilet break.