My company (around 250 employees) has a very tall man working here. I'm not sure of his exact height, but he's a head above the 6 foot high bathroom stalls.

I felt very, very uncomfortable today when I was sitting on the throne, and he came in and used the stall next to me. For sure I don't believe he ever turned his head, but literally he could have and seen me in all my bottom-half-birthday-glory. I'm sure his peripheral vision gave away something at the very least.

These bathrooms are shared across the whole company, and the only bathrooms available to me. I also don't know/met this man, he works in another department. He's probably a really nice guy who does extremely well on the work basketball team (if such a thing existed!)

How should I approach management about my discomfort? I don't want to single him out as he's done nothing wrong, but on the other side, I really feel uncomfortable using the men's bathrooms now. The obvious solution to me is to install taller stalls to prevent this, but perhaps there are other options that don't immediately scream out to this man "Hey, we're making the stalls taller because of YOU".

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    @raterus I see... I think that you are making mole hills here... there is probably nothing you can do for that 2 second interval before that person sits.. and surely they can't ban him from using the restrooms. – DarkCygnus Feb 20 '18 at 21:18
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    "The stall walls are too short, some people can see over them" ? What makes you think he wouldn't just appreciate the change? – Bernhard Barker Feb 20 '18 at 21:53
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    If he doesn't want to look over, then the height of the stalls is not an issue. If he does want to look over, the height of the stalls is not an issue, since anyone shorter can easily stand on the "throne" and look if they want to. So, unless he looks over, this is really not an issue. If he is, then it's a huge issue, but he is the issue, not the height of the walls. Sorry if I made it worse by pointing out that others can stand on the toilet and look at your glorious bottom-half (if you had not considered that before, that is). – PoloHoleSet Feb 20 '18 at 22:21
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not a workplace-specific problem. – Blrfl Feb 21 '18 at 5:23
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    @FiringSquadWitness, This has to be in the US (some say because of the war on drugs). Everywhere else in the world, the toilet stalls are fully enclosed or almost fully enclosed, with little to no gaps. Here is a particularly extreme example for school kids in the US, to prevent them from smoking in the stalls. reddit.com/r/CrappyDesign/comments/6ahkv8/… – Stephan Branczyk Feb 21 '18 at 11:58

...but literally he could have and seen me...

Before approaching management, you should do the same engineering done by the people who designed the bathroom. They've already figured this out.

The (crude) diagram below represents a pair of U.S.-standard, three-foot-wide bathroom stalls with six-foot-high partitions as described. In the center of the stall at the left is your co-worker at a head higher than the partitions. I put his eyes about eight inches above the top of the partition based on some measurements of my own head.

The tick marks at the right represent increments of one foot above the floor. The blue area represents the field of view your co-worker would have of your stall that isn't obstructed by the partition. This puts the high-water mark for what's private in your stall at a bit less than five feet. (I could have done some trig to figure this out, but the diagram is a lot more intuitive.)

Bathroom stall sight diagram

The bottom line is that your twig and berries are safe from prying eyes.

And now, having answered this question, I'm going to vote to close it as off-topic because this isn't a workplace-specific problem.

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    However, your head could be closer to the partition, so... – Masked Man Feb 21 '18 at 8:05
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    @MaskedMan you could also stand on the pot if you really wanted to look over, but probably this person isn't trying to be inappropriate (or even interested in seeing some other person pooping) and won't be making an effort ;) – Erik Feb 21 '18 at 8:48
  • @MaskedMan I evaluated that, too. Under the same conditions, moving the tall co-worker half the distance to the partition gets him access to about another foot, or still not enough for a good peek. – Blrfl Feb 21 '18 at 12:11
  • @Blrfl, I was in the handicapped stall which had about a 6 foot width – Jay Feb 21 '18 at 14:23
  • @raterus Even if you extend the sight line another three feet to the right, you're still at about the three-foot-high mark by the time it hits the far wall. On a residential toilet, my gentleman's area is still well below that. – Blrfl Feb 21 '18 at 17:54

If you think about it, he would have been just as uncomfortable as you. People of elevated heights (or short statures for that matter) are often well aware of their uniqueness.

It would not have been the first time for him. And he would instinctively know where not to look.

I understand you were uncomfortable, anyone would in your situation. But I would suggest approaching management only if he had perverted intentions, or made crude remarks.

If you do face this issue again, it would be a good idea to lean forward on the throne (thus masking your crown jewels :)) This would also show less if there was an inadvertent look.

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  • Why does the fact that he's probably also uncomfortable make it better? Doesn't that make it worse, in that there are more people that are uncomfortable, thus making a better case for doing something about it? Having a bunch of employees be uncomfortable every time they use the bathroom is probably something most decent employers would like to avoid. – Bernhard Barker Feb 21 '18 at 15:57

The only thing you can do is to bring it up to your manager or a building facilities manager (meaning the group who conducts maintenance). This might not get you anywhere or they might not have the power to make a change. Make sure that you approach this from a safe position and try not to imply this person was actually peering into your stall if that is the case.

I know the comfortableness that you feel, as I have had similar experiences. It's not that there is a couple seconds of potential exposure, but rather a shocking realization that what you feel is a private space isn't private anymore.

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