A Company That Forced Employees To Take Unpaid Bathroom Breaks Now Owes Them $1.75 Million

Justice is served.

Is there anything worse than working for a company that treats its employees like garbage? And is there anything better than seeing that company forced to make up for it by compensating those employees for their trouble in cold, hard cash?

American Future Systems, Inc. is a company based out of Pennsylvania that publishes business newsletters. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, from 2009-2014 the company forced over 6,000 employees at its offices in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey to clock out for "bathroom and other short breaks" -- which is as infuriating as it is totally illegal.

Now, the company may have to pay a group of workers $1.75 million in "back pay and liquidated damages."


Most of the company's employees are telemarketers who call businesses and try to sell them on the company's services -- which, as you can imagine, is already a deeply stressful job for many people.

"No worker should have to face the choice: Do I take a bathroom break, or do I get paid?" Adam Welsh, a senior trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor's Philadelphia office told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Walsh also added that the company hasn't yet started being compliant with the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, and that the "damages will grow" until they are. A company attorney declined to comment to the paper.

Ivette Vigano, the assistant director of the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division office in Philadelphia, told the news outlet, "These are minimum-wage employees ... Most of them aren't kids. They are mature adults. For them not to be able to take a brief break to relieve themselves, to speak bluntly, it's very sad."

Hopefully at least some of that sadness will be alleviated by the portion of the $1.75 million the employees -- and lucky ex-employees -- who suffered from the policy are about to receive.