Several months ago, our small company (around 20 people), hired a marketing manager (which is a new position within this company, he doesn't actually have any marketers to manage).

It was not long after this time that I would use the toilet in one of our offices, and discover that someone had defecated and not attempted to flush at all. This has occurred several times.

This morning I was the first one in the office. I went into the toilet to wash my hands, and I happened to notice that the toilet seat was up, and there was some toilet paper on the roll. Later, the manager in question was the second person to walk in. I then went to the toilet (no one else had arrived yet), and now the toilet seat was down, the paper roll was empty, and after lifting the seat, someone had defecated and not flushed. Considering the timings here, I think I've found the culprit. If there's any doubt to the timings, the logs for the swipe card system on the front door could be checked, to prove that no one else was here in that time.

Obviously this is somewhat of a hygiene issue, and if this isn't discovered by an employee early in the morning like it has been, it's possible that clients will turn up and use it, which will not look good for the company. I feel like this should be brought up with management, but am unsure on how it may reflect on me. Should I discuss it with him directly? If I were to go over his head, the only people who could be considered to be above him are the Company Director, the General/Communications technology manager, and a Project Manager (the last two are arguably the same rank as this Marketing Manager though). My relationship to all of them is that technically I am under the General and Project managers, but in practice I am managed by all three.


2 Answers 2


This is a particularly minor issue in your workplace; certainly not one that requires confronting a manager. You have several choices:

  1. Create an anonymous note on your home (not work) computer, bring it in and post it on the inside of the restroom door. Have the note request that users flush the toilets after use for the sake of the group. Most times, this will be enough to shame an offender into flushing.
  2. If your office has an anonymous suggestion box, place an anonymous suggestion that employees be more diligent in keeping your commonly shared restroom clean. List a few items including flushing the toilet and "cleaning" errant "spills" on toilet seats. This may be taken humorously, but it also may alert the offender that someone is aware of his actions and that he needs to change them.
  3. If this truly a "hygiene problem" (e.g. the person is experiencing serious intestinal issues and is seriously rendering the bathroom unusable) then a quiet word to Human Resources might be in order as this may be an indication of passive-aggressive behaviors by this person or the onset of potential emotional or mental issues. An anonymous email, sent away from work, stating the the restroom is being consistently fouled by a single individual and that you are concerned that this is a health and safety issue will be usually be enough to have someone speak to the person. You do have to make certain, however, that YOU have not been known to be a person who has complained about this issue in the past. This will allow the complaint to traced directly back to you and the person may look for an opportunity to get "payback."

While this is offensive to you personally, in the general scheme of things it is a rather low priority. Making too much of it could affect your career or be used to ridicule you in the future. Approach things cautiously and anonymously and that should resolve the issue.

  • +1 I think you as well made the points in the order they should be applied.
    – yo'
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 11:14
  • 5
    I don't agree with you about minimizing the importance of this issue. Flushing a toilet after using (especially one that is used by 20 people) is just part of basic human decency. If the toilet is broken, then I think it's vital to inform someone (building's plumber ?) in order to fix it and put it a Post-It on it informing the others about the situation. It's not rocket-science... Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 12:37
  • 1
    The "part of basic decency" criteria is a VERY slippery slope. What about covering while sneezing? Washing hands after peeing? Not talking extra loud? The list is endless and everyones perception of what qualifies is individual to them. Personally my tolerance for all such rude activities is low as they bug me too! Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 13:38
  • 4
    @RaduMurzea I agree. But it's not only a question of human decency towards your coworkers, but the OP also mentions that the toilet is also used by clients. Frankly, as a client this would leave a seriously bad impression on me. If people at this place can't handle leaving the toilet clean how can I trust them with my work? Also, I think this goes beyond things like sneezing; I knew people who would have gotten cold sores from this (disgust can be a herpes trigger).
    – Erik
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 13:40

Give him the benefit of the doubt.

It's possible that at least part of the problem was with the toilet, not the manager. Since you're a member of the team and affected by the sales, you might quietly flush the toilet when you arrive and use the restroom. If you find evidence there is something wrong with the toilet, you can safely mention that to management without being viewed as a whistleblower.

Sanitation-wise, it might be unpleasant but is probably not worse than a Porta-Potty or an outhouse. So put it in perspective.

  • 2
    It's kind of irresponsible not to make sure everything's flushed. I wonder if that's what happens... every time... Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 10:43

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