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Jim Beam - Denial of Bathroom Access

Jay Leno Joke, Along with Public Outcry, 
Helps Bring Bathroom Pass to Jim Beam Workers

Source: UFCW

Ref: Jim Beam Brands Company, a unit of Fortune Brands Inc., bottling plant in Clermont, Kentucky

In an attempt to return past  employee practices, the subject Jim Beam plant implemented a bathroom break policy in September 2001 that dictated when employees could relieve themselves.   The new policy resulted in a citation by Kentucky state regulators for violating the States version of their OHSA Toilet regulations.  Jim Beam is fighting this citation.  While limited to Kentucky, if Jim Beam wins the right to restrict workers’ access to the restroom, it undermines the only Federal Regulation that defines the negative health impact of denying people the right to go to the toilet.

As documented in the book 'Void Where Prohibited' there is a good chance this policy will not improve productivity.   What is more certain is that it will tarnish their corporate image, reduce the quality of life of their employees, and probably impact their workers health.  People can suffer from many conditions that require them, to at times, urgently need to use a restroom. When access is denied there are consequences. 

Medical studies show the importance of regular urination, with women generally needing to void more frequently than men. Adverse health effects that may result from voluntary urinary retention include increased frequency of urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can lead to more serious infections and, in rare situations, renal damage (see, e.g., Nielsen, A. Waite, W., "Epidemiology of Infrequent Voiding and Associated Symptoms," Scand J Urol Nephrol Supplement 157). UTIs during pregnancy have been associated with low birthweight babies, who are at risk for additional health problems compared to normal weight infants (see, Naeye, R.L., "Causes of the Excess Rates of Perinatal Mortality and the Prematurity in Pregnancies Complicated by Maternity Urinary Tract Infections," New England J. Medicine 1979; 300(15); 819-823). Medical evidence also shows that health problems, including constipation, abdominal pain, diverticuli, and hemorrhoids, can result if individuals delay defecation (see National Institutes of Health (NJH) Publication No. 95-2754, July 1995).
Source 29 CFR 1910.141(c)(1)(i)


Not mentioned but also of concern is a negative uro-dynamic syndrome that happens to people who must often concentrate to avoid wetting themselves.   As their bladder reaches its limit their bladder neck [sphincter] muscles clamp to avoid leakage.   Over time the muscle strengthens, becomes enlarged and begins to restrict urine flow.   This restriction causes the muscle that empties the bladder [detrusor] to strengthen and become thick.  This thicken bladder wall cannot expand easily leading to less capacity.   After a few years the Jim Beam's Policy has the potential to actually increase the times their employees need to urinate.

Fortune Brands is a leading consumer products company.  A policy that results in some employees wearing diapers at one of their Units is an image most Corporations would avoid.

Advocacy Group or People

 

Media Coverage of Jim Beam

Media Coverage of the broader issue 

 

                                                                                                                                                                         

American Restroom Association                                      
PO Box 65111                                                                        
Baltimore, MD 21209
202-747-6031 - Policy and Media queries 410-358-9007(FAX)

WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: The American Restroom Association (ARA) is formally incorporated in the State of Maryland and is a subsidiary of the International Paruresis Association  ARA is not qualified to provide legal advice. This web site contains non-vetted information that is un-official and for education only. There are no formal or financial agreements with any persons or entities cited. Some material is from copyrighted sources. This material is for education only and it must be source referenced.

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