So, although I only have a month left working for them, the company I work for is complaining over my toilet use, I usually go once a day in the morning either just as I get in, or 30-40 minutes afterwards, I can't help it, when you have to go, you have to go, my manager sent me this email

Every day I seem to have the same chat with you and I get the same response which is not acceptable.

You start work at 11am. This mean that at 11am you are sat at your desk ready to work (or started work). It does not mean that you got to the toilet and then start work at 11:10.

Also, when you start work at 11am or 10 am etc, it is not acceptable to then go to the toilet for 20 minutes nearly every day 10 minutes after you start work for 20 minutes.

I have brought this up with you on numerous occasions and it is still happening. "his boss" has noticed too and is not happy with it. You need to stop taking liberties like this.

I am not saying don’t use the loo, just think about when you are using it. As soon as you get in and for 20 minutes is not acceptable anywhere you work.

The Question is, is he in the right? or is he taking the mick?

Edit: I think many are missing a key factor My work is done throughout the day with no "deadlines" or projects, no need for someone to be chasing my time, for instance today, we had a good day overall, and I did not do anything extra.

There is no need for my time to be monitored.

  • 5
    You are on notice period ? If so , then he is just picking on you Jun 2, 2015 at 11:18
  • 11
    Be sure , that you are on good terms with him as he is the one who will be writing you relieving & experience letter . Come in 20 minutes earlier than 10 or 11 and start working exactly at the mentioned time , afterall it's just for a month . Jun 2, 2015 at 11:22
  • 3
    I know it sounds quite odd , but managers often pick up on employees who are into their last lap . My suggestion would be , stay back 10 minutes more than ur usual office timing . This way , when he asks u can say that i make up that time by staying 10 minutes late . Jun 2, 2015 at 11:25
  • 5
    I think going to the bathroom immediately upon getting to work can be seen as you trying to get paid more for doing less work. Not that, that's what is happening but it's something to be mindful of to avoid unnecessary conflict in the future. Jun 2, 2015 at 15:45
  • 8
    Are you spending 20 minutes on each visit like he says? Is there a relevant medical issue? Jun 2, 2015 at 16:07

5 Answers 5


Disagreeing with the other answers, I'll say that your supervisor is being purposefully mean.

First of all, bowel movement isn't something you can control. It's an autonomous process. You might be able to squeeze it out before you really have to go, but at the end of the day, it's out of your control.


As soon as you get in and for 20 minutes is not acceptable anywhere you work.

is bullshit. I can name counterexamples (my former and current workplace for two), but even if that weren't the case, the statement is obviously nonsense, because the sample size you'd need to make such a statement is impossible for him to get a hold of.

But the boss is the boss. And a rule is a rule. I can keep talking about how this particular rule is bullshit, but sadly, it's still something you're going to have to follow, so long as they might be able leave you with missing references.

  • 4
    @Dansmith - It's been known to happen. Some downvote other answers to "promote" their own. Not saying this is definitely the case here. But your question is good and deserves more than just one single opinion-based answer.
    – Alec
    Jun 2, 2015 at 14:55
  • 2
    "so long as they might be able to give you bad references." anyone who writes bad references in the UK is opening themselves up to legal action, so this is unlikely. No reference is a possibility though. gov.uk/work-reference
    – weston
    Jun 2, 2015 at 15:28
  • 18
    Was this answer chosen because it agreed with you?
    – Terry
    Jun 2, 2015 at 15:53
  • 10
    @Dansmith That's probably because the vast majority of people think Joe's answer is correct. The vote count speaks for itself. No reasonable manager would complain if this had happened once or twice, but I think the vast majority of them would if this were a habit (which it sounds like it is in this case.) You can use the bathroom before you go to work.
    – reirab
    Jun 2, 2015 at 16:29
  • 3
    -1. To an extent, it is definitely something you can control. OP states that this happens usually just as I get in or within 30-40 minutes of arriving at work. OP is expecting his work to pay for his morning schedule, which they have no control over. Joe is correct in that the fix here is for the OP to make an effort to use the restroom prior to "clocking in" rather than. Related Dilbert: dilbert.com/strip/2012-12-31 Jun 2, 2015 at 17:54

The Question is, is he in the right? or is he taking the mick?

He is in the right.

You say you "can't help it", but certainly you know that you can. Your manager correctly pointed out how to avoid this issue - use the toilet before starting your workday. Get in a few minutes earlier, do your thing, then be at your desk at 11:00. It's at least worth a try.

If your manager actually talked to you about this before ("every day"), and you still haven't changed your behavior, then something is wrong. Either you didn't understand him, or you purposely chose to ignore him. I'm guessing it was the latter.

I think your manager is doing you a favor by bringing this up again. This almost certainly is "not acceptable anywhere you work" and is behavior you would be advised to avoid on your next job. This is what some call "a learning opportunity".

[Note: the boss doesn't sound like anyone most folks would want to work for - most of us would dislike being micromanaged. But that isn't really the question at hand.]

  • 5
    Totally agree, if you know you'll need the toilet when you arrive get in 5 minutes early so you're at your desk on time. I have worked with people who without fail go to the toilet just before their lunch break, just after their lunch break and pack up ten minutes early because 'there's no point coming back'.
    – Dustybin80
    Jun 2, 2015 at 11:36
  • 12
    I agree, an adult person is supposed to have this ability unless you have a medical issue. If you really have to go at 11:10 it is very likely you need to go at 10:45 but ignored it, you need to be aware of it. Jun 2, 2015 at 11:36
  • 20
    I quite disagree. If he needed to use the toilet before work, he would have. Bowel movement isn't something you can do on command. This is the same damn argumnet that teachers use; "use the toilet in recess." And if everyone did that, it would be mayhem.
    – Alec
    Jun 2, 2015 at 14:19
  • 10
    And the main aspect is : Does it matters when he goes to toilet? If he were to go one hour later, would it improve the situation? No. He would still need the same amount of time away from your desk. Which makes it absolutely the same situation for the employer. It is just a matter of perception from your boss. So maybe explaining in a nice way that you CAN go later but that you cannot guarantee your full efficiency while your are "holding it back" would work.
    – Puzzled
    Jun 2, 2015 at 15:59
  • 11
    If a company tried to dictate my bowel movements then that is not a company that is worth working for.
    – Roy
    Jun 2, 2015 at 16:18

The only way that he would be in the wrong is if it were physically impossible for you to access the washroom earlier than 11. For example if the doors to the building were locked until 10:59 and there were no public washrooms anywhere nearby. Most likely you can reasonably adjust your habitual behavior in a way that has been requested but you have opted not to.

  • 1
    I've made a point about how bowel movement is an autonomous process, but I agree with your point on habitual changes in the sense that meals can be consumed earlier to make sure one needs to go to the bathroom before office hours.
    – Alec
    Jun 2, 2015 at 15:31

The Question is, is he in the right? or is he taking the mick?

I have to agree with Joe in saying your boss is right.

When your shift starts you are expected to work, not prepare to work.

Story time! When I worked at a restaurant the servers were expected to be there 5 minutes early for their shifts. When they would get there they would change into non-slip shoes, get their notepad and fill their apron/belt with the supplies they needed which took a few minutes. For them, their shift starting didn't mean they were physically there, it meant that they were waiting their tables and doing their side work.

The same idea applies to office work (at least where I am). I get in a few minutes early to put my lunch in the fridge, fill my water bottle, and use the restroom if I need. This way I am ready to work when I am expected by my boss. It sounds like your boss has similar expectations of readiness when you say you will be there.

If you are using the restroom on a consistent basis right when you get to work, your boss is probably under the impression that if you were there a little earlier then you could quickly go before your shift. Yes you may use the restroom at work, but to him your breaks unnecessarily cutting into work time. While you only have a month left I would suggest trying to be there early and taking care of it then. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to your boss if he has brought it up "numerous" times.

  • A restaurant and office aren't really comparable. I'm an adult and a salaried professional, I am perfectly capable of managing my own time and getting my work completed.
    – Andy
    Jun 4, 2015 at 1:07

Trying to provide a somewhat more nuanced answer between Alec's and Joe's, I would say it feels a bit mean but he does have a point. While it might feel intrusive, there are certainly other jobs in which this could be a problem.

On the other hand, it's absolutely not true that it's going to be a problem everywhere. It all depends on the type of job, whether you clock in or not, etc. I have had jobs where I was mostly free of my use of time. I hope that if someone would have spent hours on the loo, people would notice and worry a little but, whether I came at 9 or 11 and went to the loo right after arriving, before leaving, or after lunch made absolutely no difference.

In those type of jobs (i.e. outside of an assembly line or call centre in which every minute is controlled and accounted for), it's also illusory to think you can micromanage employees and increase productivity by curtailing toilet breaks. As long as you are not spending hours on the loo or otherwise slacking off in a big way, whether you do it just after coming to work or later in the day should therefore not make any difference and your boss complaining about that has more to do with asserting his power and control over you than anything else.

Still, that's a factor in many workplaces so, even if I don't agree with some other answers' attempt to legitimate this, you have to recognise that it's not uncommon and be prepared to deal with it in the future.

Practically in this case, since you are already on your way out, there is no need to overthink this. If preserving your relationship with that manager is important and you really can't help but go to the loo around that time, try to arrive earlier and do it before 11. It's just one month, after all.

  • 2
    IF the manager starts to be picky on this kind of thing, I doubt he will write a good recommendation. I wouldn't even try to ask.
    – dyesdyes
    Jun 3, 2015 at 10:38
  • @dyesdyes Good point, I removed this from the answer (and added a bit more details on my thinking about the issue).
    – Relaxed
    Jun 3, 2015 at 10:51

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