Employee Cell Calls In Bathroom


From original questioner:

I have a guy who has been spending 10-15 minutes 3 or 4x a day in the bathroom. We suspected he was on the phone. I called his number when he was 'in the room', guess what, he answered. Busted. Our policy is no cell phone use on company time, period. In the manual etc. He is currently suspended. I am thinking he has been stealing from us. Alt.#1 :He needs to show me 2 months of cell phone bills and we back charge him for wages and related costs, 2 weeks suspension and reinstate him on probation for 6 months. Alt.#2 is to get him out of here for good. He is a average worker, not really self directed. been here 4+ years.

What would you do?

Curious what others would do

From contributor Ki

Work wood, not employees.

That is, spend your energies on positive things, not trying to salvage a person that apparently does not value their employment.

Do you not deserve the best?

From contributor Al

I would never think you could back charge an employee. You either let him go or tell him no more. Anything else you are trying to craft should go through a labor attorney.

I would bet his side of the argument if this ever went anywhere in the legal system would be the boss called me so of course I answered my phone.

Do you have an employee policy that has suspensions and probations defined? Most labor lawyers don't like probationary policies. It makes it easy to argue you can't fire them once they pass the probationary period. You should have an at will policy that lets you terminate him and just say it isn't working out. Hold your tongue and don't brink up the phone and the bathroom as cause.

Get a policy (at-will) that is clear and have the employees sign it.


From contributor Ch


Thanks ya'll.

I called him using a number no one could know, so he did not know it was me.

We have a hire at will in our emp manual.
However, an employee blatantly breaking a stated shop rule is not eligible for unemployment ins., where as a person who "is not working out" is.

From contributor Al

so you need to use whatever you policy says for terminating for cause. I would think you would have to give a warning for it to hold up for denying unemployment, every state is different.

What employees do in bathrooms is a difficult area to deal with.

From contributor Le

If he answered the phone how do you know he was on it? All that means is the phone was on. He was in the bathroom, why wouldn't he answer it?

From contributor Pa

What ever your policy is you need to follow through. E.G. If you have a policy not to use cell phones at work and have consequences in your policy then you need to do what ever your policy dictates. Otherwise the other workers will not be clear on what the policy Really is.

E.G. Kim Jong Un had the policy that if you did something he did not like he would feed you to starving dogs. His uncle did something he did not like... you laugh but have you heard of anyone doing something he did not like lately?

From contributor Ji

I would write him up first, stating he has been warned and fully understands the consequences of further violation (spell that out too) and have him sign off on it.
The workforce commision is absolutely on the side of the employee.
You get to pay the fees, the employee, right or wrong, gets the benefit.

From contributor St

I had a guy wouldn't get off his phone. Told him if I saw his phone again, he was fired. So... he got a headset.

He was fired. Now we have a "no cell phones in building" policy (except for sales team.)

From contributor Ch


He admitted he was on the phone.

To All: I appreciate the dialog, it's lonely at the top ! Good to hear other opinions

From contributor Le

Well that solves that LOL.

From contributor Pa

If you do not change the policy or enforce the policy you have you will be stuck in groundhogs day.

From contributor Ni

I am so glad to hear im not the only person that has to deal with this stuff. We had that issue where i an employee was taking 20min washroom breaks. He was a terrible employee, but LUCKILY he left on his own. But i think if legally you can, your best to rid yourself of troublesome employees. The longer they stay, the harder it is to get rid of them.

From contributor Ne

Just fire him. It's silly, imo, to play the games you are playing. I question why you did the little espionage routine to begin with; watching and waiting til he goes to the bathroom , then calling him from a # "no one could know "? Don't you have better things to do with your time ? Pretend you are both adults, fire him, and move on. You want to back charge him for the time ? Look, it's not indentured servitude. You have to chalk that up to the cost of doing business. You can't expect to to be comped for every nickel and dime that falls through the cracks, especially with bad or questionable employees. Seems like that's just you throwing a fit to me. ( Btw, Great work Detective ! ).

From contributor Ch


Without doing the detective thing, how woudl one know what's going on, or at least be able to prove it. In NY we have something called unemployment ins. which seems to be an extension of welfare. Even with proof of an act that is clearly in violation of documented company rules, it's hard to boot someone with giving them the gift of state unemployment money, followed by 99 weeks of federal money. Yes, I have better things to do, but i always try to balance skills and prior history with firing someone. Up to a point.

From contributor Mi

Keep good documentation for when fired employee for cause files for unemployment. And ones who quit also.

From contributor Ch

What Kilgore and Jim Herron said

From contributor Gr

I would hate to work for a guy that spends his time trying to trick employees about following the rules. Not sure if you are the owner or manager but either way your time should be focused on making people more productive and increasing efficiency not playing let me see if I can make employee x slip up. Based on your remarks you have no idea about HR and EEO rules and you are setting yourself up for a lawsuit. Take the advice given here. Make them better or get rid of them. Don't play entrapment games..