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I was using the bathroom, and was in the stall when I heard sounds that were very suggestive of pornography coming from the other stall, which was closed. To be clear, there were two voices and they sounded like they were electronically generated, like from a cell phone. I was not being quiet, and the sounds persisted while I washed my hands even though I was fairly certain the other person was aware I was there. I have no idea who it was, I went back to my desk intending to tell my direct supervisor but he was nowhere to be found. I didn't want to flag down a random manager, and HR is on the other side of the building.

The person is gone now, I am hesitant to bring it up now. Is there a compelling reason to, or a reason to drop it? (at least as long as it is not a repeat incident).

  • Why did you not say something at the time? "That sure sounds like porn" or "Don't let a manager catch you doing that" said through the door of the stall might have been enough to ensure it never happens again. – Myles May 12 '15 at 19:07
  • @Myles That is a good idea, I don't think that I would like to do that without knowing who it was though, I would if I was sure my voice would not be recognized. – kleineg May 12 '15 at 19:17
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    I would approach you manager in the manner of this happened and i did not know how to address it. What should I do if this happens again? – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 12 '15 at 20:54
  • At my gym you used to be able to surf the web on the stationary bike. A guy was surfing porn. When confronted he did not think it was a problem. He argued with the manager. – paparazzo May 12 '15 at 21:45
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    If it happens again and If the bathroom is not busy, I would try to look down and check the shoes of the person. Not to ID the person later, but just to make sure whether or not it was the manager that you decided to take the issue to. – TyCobb May 12 '15 at 22:48
43

Just Leave It

It seems to me you have absolutely nothing to gain here. No actual harm was done, you have absolutely no evidence that there was actually anything wrong going on and you have no idea who was responsible.

Ultimately, all you're doing in opening yourself up to criticism (Bad judgement / spreading rumour / causing aggravation) with almost no chance of a resolution.

Best case I could imagine is that a supervisor may send everyone a warning-shot e-mail, but in my experience that just leads to gossip and rumour because everybody knows that those e-mails aren't sent randomly.

Please don't take this as a "Don't snitch" post - it'd certainly be different if you knew who did it, or if it was a recurring theme - but right now - I'd advise you just forget it.

  • Fair enough, that was about where I was planning on leaving it. Do you have any advice about what to do if it happens in the future? – kleineg May 12 '15 at 19:18
  • It'd also be very different if you were in the lunch room or your desk, rather than the bathroom. – Bobson May 13 '15 at 2:52
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    The circumstance and context is very important here too. It is easy to dismiss if there is no harm done and it is otherwise not disrupting or impeding normal workplace operations. If, however, (for example) the washroom may also be used by clients of the company then this may represent a rather more serious issue - a client in said restroom may walk away with a very damaged impression of the company and this can hurt the business. – J... May 13 '15 at 12:22
  • @Bobson or in your car. – Robert Grant May 13 '15 at 12:30
8

Keep your suspicions to yourself.

Running to your boss with a vague complaint of "I think someone I don't know was doing something inappropriate on their phone in the men's (or women's) room" is unlikely to do anything but paint you as a snitch.

There is no upside for you in this case. Even if your boss believes you, he can't fire someone he doesn't know. Right or wrong, being known as a "snitch," even in a professional environment, can be detrimental to a career.

The best course of action for you is to keep your head down unless you have eye-witness proof something inappropriate actually occurred.

-4

I don't agree with the do nothing answers. What you think you heard happening is not appropriate work place behavior. Report it to your manager or HR them them decide what to do. In my mind you are not a snitch for reporting something that you heard if it is what you heard. If you wait for it to happen again they will ask why did you not report it the first time.

I know a lot of people are going to say this is not the same but if I saw bruises on a child's back I would report it to child protective services.

The coffee tastes strange every once in a while is also vague unsubstantiated complaint but it happened and they put a camera on the coffee pot and a disgruntled employee was urinating the coffee.

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    If the OP had actually seen something inappropriate it would be a different question. The OP has no idea who the "offender" might be, or even if something inappropriate transpired. Unless the OP has proof, or has noticed the same strange behaviour over and over again he needs to give the "ghost in the stall" the benefit of the doubt. – sevensevens May 13 '15 at 1:18
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    Re: "I know a lot of people are going to say this is not the same but if I saw bruises on a child's back I would report it to child protective services": And "a lot of people" are right. That is not the same, for very obvious reasons; and the analogy is both foolish and offensive. – ruakh May 13 '15 at 6:18
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    A camera on the coffee pot to gather evidence is a rather different proposition to a camera in the bathroom stalls... – Julia Hayward May 13 '15 at 9:07
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    @JuliaHayward In this case all that would be needed is checking the camera in the hallway which probably is already installed. Not entirely sure whether mentioning it is the best idea, but definitely not downvoting either (although I think the comparison with child abuse is totally out of place, as there is nobody being actively harmed here (aside of generic porn industry abuse)). – David Mulder May 13 '15 at 10:22
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    @ruakh the analogy isn't offensive (by definition, unless you were the person in the stall, it can't possibly apply to you. Maybe "distasteful"?) But either way, if you see bruises on a child's back, the first you do is report them? What if they fell? I've heard of children doing that. – Robert Grant May 13 '15 at 12:32

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