How to Have the “Bathroom Conversation” at the Office

by Evil HR Lady on September 4, 2019

Some of my female employees have complained to me that the ladies’ bathroom in the plant is unsanitary because they sometimes find (and have shown me pictures of excrement) on toilet seats. There are other problems, as well. One time, someone asked me into the bathroom to show me a used sanitary napkin that had been pressed onto a stall wall!!

I put out a memo to all female employees saying this is unacceptable.  We have the bathrooms cleaned every night, but it’s up to them to keep it clean throughout the day. 

Things were OK for a while, but we had another incident yesterday. Honestly, this is the sort of stuff that makes me want to re-think my career choice!!

Do you have any suggestions about what to do in this situation?  ANY ideas would be much appreciated.  We don’t have the time or resources to appoint a bathroom police woman to check the bathroom after each person uses it. This is totally frustrating. 

To read my answer, click here: How to Have the “Bathroom Conversation” at the Office

Leave your own answer in the comments!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Huggins September 4, 2019 at 5:49 pm

I worked at a place that have had this problem.

I can’t believe it happens at other places. WOW.

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SAG September 5, 2019 at 4:55 pm

This situation happens. In fact, it happened at my job. I was so sick of seeing “Aunt Flo” in an around the toilet seat, I had no choice but to go to HR. She proceeded to tell me this situation happened before with blood all around the toilet and floor. She sent out a mass email(to all the women employees) reminding everyone to be clean. I find it ridiculous that grown women do not know how to be mindful about cleanliness during their cycle.

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Nanc September 4, 2019 at 5:56 pm

I shudder the think what the culprit’s home looks like.

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Elizabeth West September 4, 2019 at 11:32 pm

I’m guessing Suzanne nailed it — the person is doing it because they’re unhappy at work. It’s petty, childish stuff, but they likely aren’t befouling their own living space.

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texan in exile September 4, 2019 at 6:07 pm

I arrived at my gym one morning to discover someone had smeared feces in the shower. I told the clerk immediately, but when I returned at lunch (I know – but I was bored and the gym was next door to my office), it was still there.

The clerk said that the cleaning staff was not paid enough to deal with things like that and I agreed with her, but — someone needed to clean it.

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MariaRose September 4, 2019 at 9:58 pm

Pretty radical techniques to find the culprit/offender, but putting those aside, anyone who needs to use excrement of any version to express themselves has a mental issue and I don’t think having the “talk” will help unless it includes a referral to a therapist. This type of behavior is not caused entirely by a work adaptation problem but is learned behavior from childhood as a means of retaliation against situations. And this is not just a female problem, as male bathrooms will have similar problems, too. The one thing, I would add to the monitoring of the bathroom is an hourly sign in sheet for the maintenance to know the time period of when these incidents occur. Unfortunately, this cleanup is part of the job of the maintenance, despite what that clerk stated at that gym. A nice bleach cleanup will discourage the culprit for a short period of time, while the room is ventilated to dry out. Sometimes bringing out the hose to clean up will discourage further messes.
I always thought this was a public bathroom problem but it appears this issue has no social rank level but a major mental attitude towards others.

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Emma September 5, 2019 at 3:25 pm

My husband works for a transit system. Once back before we were even dating, he wrote a potty training guide based on the disgusting messes he was seeing daily. Let me know if you’d be interested in reading it, but warning, you may cry at the state of humanity.

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GreenDoor September 5, 2019 at 8:53 pm

I worked at a miserable place once, with a lot of slovenly people (greasy chicken bones left scattered on the lunch table, people tossing garbage on the hallway floors as they walked through). I was one of the stalls and noticed the other stall had a used sanitary pad, used-side up, and TP that was used for #2 balled up on the floor next to it. Watched my department VP come in (could tell by the shoes), pause, step right over the pile, and proceeded to do her thing. I applaud the letter writer for wanting to put an end to it. My management didn’t care enough about germs and disease to do anything.

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Texan In Exile September 7, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Serious question: Did you expect her to personally clean it up?

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Clean September 6, 2019 at 6:35 am

That is disgusting.

OP, just curious have you spot checked the restroom first thing in the morning after it has been cleaned? It does make me wonder if it’s getting cleaned well. If not, it may encourage the behavior. If it still continues – hourly cleanliness checks like they’ve got in retail (temporarily) could work. That gives you a timeline.

Hope it gets better,

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