March 2, 2014 9:49 am -

The St. Cloud woman, Lily Prince, was barred from using the restroom, so a box was the next best option. She was rehired after 11 months, but there is a court case pending.

The 51-year-old woman was working on an assembly line at a St. Cloud factory, making steel liners for freezers. She said she begged the line supervisor to let her go to the restroom, but he did not give her permission. She pressed several more times and the wait grew to 30 or 40 minutes.

“I knew I couldn’t hold it any longer,” the Cold Spring, Minn., woman said last week. “I would have wet my pants and I would never live it down.”

So Prince put a plastic bag in an empty box, walked over to a garbage can near the assembly line, and urinated into the box.

She was fired the next day by Electrolux Home Products for a “health and safety violation” and was out of work for 11 months before an arbitrator reversed her August 2012 dismissal. Hers is not the only incident where workers and employers have tangled over restroom breaks. In Minnesota two complaints specifically citing restroom breaks were lodged with the state Department of Labor and Industry in 2013.

But Prince has taken it a step further, filing suit last year over her firing. Last month U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank denied a motion by Electrolux to dismiss the case.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.