Norwegian Boss Forces Women to Wear Red Bracelets While Menstruating
Scandinavians are known for having very accepting, open societies. Laid back, you might say.
Well, either we dopey Americans have falsely lumped the Norwegians in with this far-north character analysis, or the citizens of that country are anything but laid back. Because, dear readers, something is truly rotten in the state of Norway.
Increasing monitoring at work has become a common problem addressed both here and in other countries. But last week, according to Britain's Daily Mail, things went a bit too far. A Norwegian boss reportedly is making his female employees wear red bracelets to indicate when it is that time of the month.
Evidently, this boss is so anal retentive about his employees' use of the facilities during working hours, he wants his female workers to be tagged to justify extra trips to the bathroom.
The increased monitoring of restroom use by employees was discussed in a report by a workers' union, reports the Daily Mail. The study states 66% of company managers use an electric key to monitor and limit access to the restroom by employees. In some companies, the restrooms were under the surveillance of a video camera and some even made employees sign a "visitors book" before taking a bathroom break.
And they think Americans are obsessive?
Forcing employees to wear red bracelets, though, appears to have tipped the balance from insane to actionable, or at least here in the home of the (mostly) free bathroom breaks. Causes of action? If an American boss tried such a move, just how many actionable claims would likely crop up? Let us count the ways.
Invasion of privacy comes immediately to mind. Consider the fuss about the full body scans here at home. Imagine if you had that kind of privacy invasion all day long, instead of for five minutes at the airport.
Sex discrimination is a sure thing. Sexual harassment is also a slam dunk, with proof of a hostile working environment playing a big part in the claim. A claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress seems likely, as well.
To put the final cherry on top of this sorry state of affairs in Norge, the Daily Mail says the union report has been passed on for action to Norway's chief consumer ombudsman, Bjorn Erik Thon. But please note, the report did not name the company with the bloody stupid policy of imposing red bracelets on female staff. Perhaps they did not want their privacy invaded.
- Outrageous! Women must wear red bracelets when it's their time of the month at company in Norway (New York Daily News)
- Employee Rights: Sex / Gender Discrimination (FindLaw)
- Government Employees, Sexting and Privacy Rights (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)