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I have an issue with the privacy in our bathroom at work.

The bathrooms at my company have really big windows and go down to the waist when you sit on the toilet. The problem is that these windows are milk glass windows and you can see the silhouette of the person in the bathroom and everything he/she does in there.

I know that because vis-à-vis is another companys office and I once saw a woman there using the bathroom and I was shocked about how much you could see through these windows.

My problem is, I don't know how to address this because I think nobody knows it or is bothered by it. I would like to address it anonymously. My suggestion would be to paste some type of foil on the windows to make it not so transparent anymore.

We just got a survey about the noise level at work and there is also the question if we have any other problems at work and I would like to post it there. Do you think this would be the right place to name my issue?

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    What an odd configuration for a bathroom.... – Mister Positive Apr 21 '17 at 13:43
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    There isn't one person at your company you feel comfortable with discussing this? – user8365 Apr 21 '17 at 14:15
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    Since you mentioned foil I'll just mention that there are privacy window films that are meant for this purpose that be better received by management than foil (I'm thinking of aluminum foil here). They go up and hold via static cling and can be peeled off with no residue. You can get various patterns, colors, and levels of opacity. I don't know about or recommend this vendor, I'm just posting this link as an example: decorativefilm.com/static-cling-non-adhesive - home improvement stores sell this stuff as well. – Sean Apr 21 '17 at 15:57
  • In the meantime, consider getting one of these as a stopgap. – Pharap Apr 22 '17 at 8:52
  • So it wouldn't be an issue if it was a normal glass? – user50700 Apr 27 '17 at 9:20
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We just got a survey about the noise level at work and there is also the question if we have any other problems at work and I would like to post it there. Do you think this would be the right place to name my issue?

Yes, this is the perfect place to do this. I am not sure what your company can do about it except make a request to the building owners. If they happen to own the building, they definitely can make a minor adjustment to add a bit more privacy.

I would also suggest that you not do anything that could be seen by others as defacing the property in order to gain a bit more privacy. The owner of the building needs to make the change.

But at the end of the day, the issue you have with privacy in the bathroom may not get addressed.

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    +1, if you're being offered an anonymous avenue to voice concerns, this is exactly the place to unload. – sleddog Apr 21 '17 at 13:36
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    With the foil mentioned by Sean, it should be very easy to address. – reinierpost Apr 21 '17 at 20:40
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    Even if the company is not the building owner, I think putting some removable film or foil over the window should be allowed. – 11684 Apr 21 '17 at 21:06
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    I agree with @11684 -- if it's applied in a non-destructive way (i.e. don't use duct tape because it can peel paint and the sticky residue from the cheap stuff is atrocious) you should have a right to protect your privacy in the bathroom, and not be forced to wait for management/building owners to get around to doing something about it. – Doktor J Apr 21 '17 at 21:25
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    @Voo: In any jurisdiction I know, a tenant most certainly CAN make non-permanent changes to the space being rented. In fact, this is usually spelled out in the lease. Applying privacy film to some windows would definitely fall into this category. – Dave Tweed Apr 22 '17 at 15:14
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In some places a choice is deliberately made to trade off bathroom privacy against the ability to commit crimes in bathrooms. In particular, if your building ever housed a school or child care facility bathrooms may have been deliberately modified to remove the privacy to have sex or use drugs undetected. (If the bathrooms in your building are shared with another company the requirement may still exist.)

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    While stealing may be an issue in some places, this could be seen as sex discrimination given the periodical issue women must deal with. Just the thought of someone seeing a silhouette of me doing what needs to be done turns my stomach. Ewwwww. Double ewww if I happen to see a woman's silhouette. – Andieisme Apr 22 '17 at 9:29
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    I don't see how you managed to bring gender discrimination into this (although some folks always seem to find a way). Doesn't matter what you're doing, or why you're doing it (whether that's because of your gender or not) — anything you do in the bathroom is private. – Lightness Races in Orbit Apr 22 '17 at 12:09
  • @Andieisme Given the lack of comments otherwise I assumed the poster was from the US where single gender bathrooms are the norm. Even if this is a mixed-gender facility, if you find normal common hygiene activities stomach-turning then you would probably be more comfortable finding single-occupancy restrooms. – arp Apr 22 '17 at 13:52
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    I'm from the US. Single user bathrooms do not turn my stomach. However, a silhouette viewing option from the outside is extremely gross. My comment was also made with less graphic language, but I'll be happy to clarify. No one wants to see or be seen putting in a tampon. I know few men who have to do this. – Andieisme Apr 22 '17 at 16:57
  • @Andieisme why on earth are you watching closely enough to be able to tell the difference between removing a tampon and wiping? – arp Apr 25 '17 at 1:18
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I would strongly suggest against doing something as putting foil over a door, most people probably wouldn't know the reason it was done and it may cause some complaints if the foil damages the door. What would you do if someone caught you in the act of doing it?

This needs to be raised with either your HR department or facilities department (The ones who deal with looking after the building), but doing this anonymously could prove tricky. Do you have a reason as to why you don't to this in a private meeting with another department?

Other suggestions on how to submit the complaint are:

  • Use the survey you've received to note the complaint
  • If your company has a suggestion box, drop in an anonymous note

A warning about doing it anonymously, if nothing gets done, you have little way to follow it up later. Sometimes these companies need badgering to get it done and if they receive one note, it will be forgotten. This is why I would strongly suggest you don't do it anonymously.

  • Nice touch regarding not adding the foil over the door. +1 – Mister Positive Apr 21 '17 at 13:44
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    I don't think the OP meant that they'd install the foil themselves. – jcm Apr 21 '17 at 15:47
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You can start by adding it in this "other problems" section. If you notice nothing is done about the problem, you can always send a mail to the facility manager to address the issue. Personally I think you can do this in your name, just mentioning you feel uncomfortable.

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