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In a right tizz re: suddenly not allowed water at work

(126 Posts)
alltoomuchrightnow Fri 16-Feb-18 23:05:38

I've worked for a large retailer's for a few months.
I cleared with them from the beginning, that it would be ok to have a small bottle of water when working (it's either in a cupboard or a basket or tucked away ..depends where I am but near me whether I'm static or moving around) like a few of my colleagues do (or did)

For me it's a vital thing. The meds I'm on , I'm always thirsty. My shifts tend to be around 4.5 - 5 hours which is below the time allowed for a break. So I get anxious enough making one small bottle last a whole shift..I ration it out (not able to refill it) If I can't sip when needed I have a sandpit mouth and can hardly speak . Also it's very hot and dry in the store..a few customers have actually fainted. (but it could be cold and damp and I'd still be parched...)

Today a team leader told me our new manager has banned all water when working. I argued this and was told to get a doctor's note, I'll try and do this but what do I do in the meantime? Doctor might want to see me, appointments take 2-3 weeks to wait for. Doctor doesn't know me so might not just issue without seeing me first (I'm a new patient)
I've just printed off some legal stuff and Case 187 says they can refuse water bottles if they provide staff with drinking water. Well they do but I can only access that about every 5 hours so that's no good to me (I have to sign in and out to take a break... to reach staff kitchen is on a different floor, no drinking water in loos..but then I need water with me all the time anyway)
Im getting myself in a right state. I have anxiety anyway so that doesn't help with dry mouth
For me it's physically painful if I can't drink regularly. I keep it under control by only sipping every now and then, and never in front of a customer. But to have no access..I'm panicking!
Tonight I only did 5 hour shift and came out with thumping headache as one small bottle hadn't been enough. So if they take that from me...
Yes maybe it's my fault for choosing this job but I've always done retail, never an issue. I can't afford to leave if they deny me and I can't physically work if I can't sip when I really need to

Orangesox Fri 16-Feb-18 23:12:24

Never mind a doctors note... as a large retailer they should have access to some form of occupational health provision, and your manager should be referring you to them. Please ask if this is available to you, it would be incredibly beneficial to you.

Faced with your case as you’ve put it across (clearly there would be more details to discuss) I would envisage that I would suggest that a good sized water bottle in the work place would be a reasonable adjustment given your health... let alone the fact that it’s deplorable that they’re banning people from drinking for 5 or so hours at a time!!

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 16-Feb-18 23:16:45

I was told 'it's health and safety' but my health dictates that I need to drink.
I can understand re spills but a bottle with lid on tight away from electrics? Today I was on the changing room duties and told no water but my bottle was hidden away..and no electrics there, unless I poured it into the sodding light fittings

dinosaurkisses Fri 16-Feb-18 23:19:20

Seconding speaking to your manager about occupational health- normally they’re quite good and would jump on a quick fix like letting you have your water bottle in the same way since you started work.

Failing that, speak to your union- a good chat from a decent rep should make them realise this is not a hill to die on.

If you absolutely must get a doctors’ note, I wouldn’t worry about them denying you one. I once had to get one when I worked in a call centre for going to the loo every two hours- my doctor was incredulous that I was asked for this and wrote a very snarky note to my manager which I love handing over.

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 16-Feb-18 23:20:03

I'm not in a union. guess I should change that!

Backingvocals Fri 16-Feb-18 23:20:16

God why must they treat you like children ? angry for you.

Grobagsforever Fri 16-Feb-18 23:22:22

Name and Shame. I'll boycott and unleash twitter hell

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 16-Feb-18 23:24:41

I've done other threads about them. Not being allowed to carry key (although I think this is common for many places) and the issue of sanpro and being a middleaged woman having to explain why I need tampons in my pockets because waiting 5 hours until break isn't going to work...(no staff loos, we use customer loos so not like I can leave anything in there)
Gro, I'll unleash twitter hell myself if I leave..I can see myself not staying there v long term!

BakedBeans47 Fri 16-Feb-18 23:24:49

For gods sake. Where do some employers get off on this shite? Health and Safety my arse. Ask to see the risk assessment.

Agree with PP re occupational health. They’re being completely ridiculous no matter what their spurious grounds are it seems a reasonable adjustment to let you have water x

purpleme12 Fri 16-Feb-18 23:24:50

Oh my god I don't even understand how they can do this!

ParadiseCity Fri 16-Feb-18 23:25:14

I hate things like this. If I knew which shop it was I'd boycott it. Hope you get it sorted OP.

dinosaurkisses Fri 16-Feb-18 23:25:22

Join your union! Seriously, this is exactly what they’re there for!

I wish I’d joined mine before I had to get my loo-note. Our local rep was a force to be reckoned with and would have had the argument for me.

TalkinPeace Fri 16-Feb-18 23:28:47

I've never worked in a place that recognised unions

but the treatment in the OP details is gross

CotswoldStrife Fri 16-Feb-18 23:29:53

I doubt it's simply about electrics, what if a customer or staff member slipped on any water that had been spilt by a member of staff?

Would it be a fair adjustment if you were allowed regular breaks away from the floor to have a drink?

NamelessEnsign Fri 16-Feb-18 23:30:17

That sucks. Can you put something like a camelpak (a water bladder) under your clothing with a tube to drink through? It doesn’t sound like they will be reasonable about this so you have to risk being defiant or do without until you can get a note (though your employer should reimburse the NHS!)

This sounds horrendous.

Hissy Fri 16-Feb-18 23:31:05

You’re an adult, you can supervise a needed water bottle without management agreement

Carry on with your water, get cab and union advice and book that appointment

dinosaurkisses Fri 16-Feb-18 23:31:30

Your employer doesn’t have to recognise a union for you to get representation on an individual level.

Pigeonpost Fri 16-Feb-18 23:32:02

Ohhhh, I remember you posting before about the sanpro! Who are these utter bastards?!? Can you get another job?

dinosaurkisses Fri 16-Feb-18 23:32:32

I’d love to see OP rock up to her next shift with a CamelPak 😂

Viviennemary Fri 16-Feb-18 23:33:48

If they're going to impose this ban then they need to install drinking water in the loos or in other accessible places. Who are these draconian retailers. I agree they need to be named and shamed.

AClearShotOfTheStreet Fri 16-Feb-18 23:33:50

I am not necessarily recommending this as advice, but many times in my life I have ignored/misunderstood ridiculous rules at work, and I am yet to suffer a detriment.

In your place, I would continue to sip my water and tuck it away as necessary and if challenged I would say "I thought it was OK until I have my Drs note?/I am waiting for an occupy health appointment/I thought it was just it x or y area of the shop/oh yes, totally forgot/I need it today as taking antibiotics with it" ad infinitum until it all quietly went away, which it will as sipping water constantly is now de rigeur and the genie won't go back into the bottle.

Honestly, bit of breezy confidence. Confuse the fuckers.

dantdmistedious Fri 16-Feb-18 23:34:24

Christ, I have no health issues and drink 3l when I'm at work and would irritable as fuck if I didn't. Who on earth do you work for that denies water?

dantdmistedious Fri 16-Feb-18 23:34:46

It's not Amazon is it?

littleducks Fri 16-Feb-18 23:34:51

The H&S angle is silly. In a changing room a customer could easily be sipping water too. Surely you would just clean up any unlikely spillages.

newyearsameme80 Fri 16-Feb-18 23:35:13

Request to speak to the new manager as a first step. He may have no idea you have an issue with this (though I don’t think any staff should be banned).

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