Kristi Rifkin, who used to work at T-Mobile’s Nashville call center, claims she had to clock out to use the bathroom while pregnant and was eventually fired.
“They give you two 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch,” Rifkin told ABC News. “If you can’t take care of your biological needs in that time period, you don’t go.”
Rifkin said that her doctor told her to drink more water because she had a high-risk pregnancy, which resulted in more trips to the bathroom.
She claims that a T-Mobile supervisor demanded to see a doctor’s note.
”At that point, I thought my head was going to launch off my shoulders,” said Rifkin. “‘Are you serious? I need to get a note from my doctor to go to the toilet?’ This is a basic biological need.’”
Rifkin brought in a doctor’s note, but says that T-Mobile would only allow her to use the restroom if she clocked out first.
“I ended up using my vacation time to use the bathroom,” said Rifkin.
Rifkin took time out under the Family Medical Leave Act to have her baby and then returned to work, but about a month later, was fired.
According to Rifkin, T-Mobile claimed she did not remove a charge from a customer’s account and got an extra 12 cents in commission.
Tennessee is an "at-will" employment state, which means employers may fire any employees for any reason, according to Tennessee’s Department of Labor website.
However, T-Mobile may be guilty of pregnancy discrimination, according to Workplace Fairness Executive Director Paula Brantner.
“There is no specific legal requirement that requires employers to let their employees use the restroom,” Brantner told ABC News. “If a pregnant woman is the only employee being forced to clock out, and they don’t require males or non-pregnant females to do so, it would seem to me that would be pregnancy discrimination.”
“T-Mobile employees enjoy generous benefits including paid-time-off and short and long-term disability coverage,” said T-Mobile spokesperson Glenn A. Zaccara. “The company has leave of absence policies in line with regulatory requirements.”
“I’m done with T-Mobile,” said Rifkin, who has no plans to sue. “I don’t want anything to do with them anymore.”