I work at a company which recently hired a female developer for the first time.

We currently have two bathrooms available: One with two male standing toilet and a regular toilet (with a door), and another with just one regular toilet.

Up to now, since we were all men, we used both bathrooms. Now, we have put a sign at each bathroom door to indicate gender.

But it seems to be fine for us employees to use it while our female coworker is not in the office.

I've talked about this to the manager as I find this anti-hygienic. He said it is anti-hygienic but due to our current situation (almost 15 males everyday at work) it is the best thing they can do. That it is everybody's responsibility to leave the bathrooms clean.

Also, I think the manager hinted me that as long as she doesn't know, there should be no problem. The expression for this was:

Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente.

Google Translate: Out of sight out of mind.

I could translate it but I don't know if it will lose the meaning.

That exactly is what keeps bothering me. How is this handled around the world?

  • 12
    What do you do if a female visitor asks to use a restroom? Jul 26, 2017 at 22:48
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    I'm confused by the "anti-hygenic" part of the question. Toilets are toilets. Did you not use the same toilet as your own mother and father? Have you never used a gender-neutral bathroom?
    – zzzzBov
    Jul 26, 2017 at 23:12
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    As a comment, we should be aware of the distinction between gender and sex to convey the actual meaning of what we want to specify.
    – DarkCygnus
    Jul 26, 2017 at 23:17
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    How does every male employee define when she's "not in the office" - is that exclusively when she's out for the day (what if she comes in late), or does that include e.g. when she goes to lunch? Seems very prone to error. Jul 26, 2017 at 23:18
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    In many offices I've worked in I'm the only woman. I have no issue with the toilets being gender neutral, but if that is the decision, then the signs should reflect it so everyone is on the same page. If management has decided to make the toilets gender-specific for whatever reason, then it should be respected and perhaps discussed with management to consider changing.
    – Jane S
    Jul 27, 2017 at 0:38

2 Answers 2


But it seems to be fine for us employees to use it while our female coworker is not in the office.

Personally I do not consider this fine. It is in a way a double standard; respect the bathroom sign when she is around but ignore it when she is not. What is the purpose of the sign then, just to signal her what bathroom to use?

Also , i think the manager hinted me that as long as she doesn't know, there should be no problem.

I consider this as not being honest and clear with your colleagues, something that should be done all the time. Again, what if it was the other way around? How would you feel if she used the men's bathroom without your knowledge?

... Anyways, I believe it is time for your company to specify exclusive bathrooms for both sexes, as it seems now it is growing and should consider its infrastructure capabilities for the future. Another option is to consider a bathroom that can be used for both sexes (as pointed out in the comments). These options seem to be the standard way in many places (not only companies).

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    +1 "Another option is to consider a bathroom that can be used for both sexes" please create gender-neutral restrooms as they are the best way to be inclusive of non-binary individuals. If local law allows, make all restrooms gender-neutral if you can.
    – 2rs2ts
    Jul 26, 2017 at 23:25
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    @2rs2ts Laws aside, we unfortunately still live in a world where gender-neutral restrooms are very much frowned upon by some and implementing them may very well make the one woman being forced to share a bathroom with 15 men extremely uncomfortable. It's definitely a sensitive topic one shouldn't just jump head-first into. Jul 26, 2017 at 23:41
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    Cant mark as answered since i asked without creating an account. But i think you share a point i am really bothered which is transparency and honesty. I think that putting a multigender sign in the bathroom door would do just fine
    – trap_robot
    Jul 27, 2017 at 1:05
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    @trap_robot: If you do that, MAKE SURE you clear it with HR first (or at least the female colleague). You and your coworkers may not consider it an issue, but she might (since she's the only female in the office). But otherwise, the gender-neutral option seems a good one to me as well.
    – tonysdg
    Jul 27, 2017 at 1:41
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    @2rs2ts even though I'm all for gender neutral things, OP describes two standing toilets without a door. This means anyone walking in that bathroom could see someone else's penis and this is obviously not accepted. OP's restrooms are not designed in a gender neutral way and I highly doubt the company is willing to invest in changing the layout of the restrooms.
    – Summer
    Jul 27, 2017 at 10:35

Either way is fine, but it should be disclosed. Mention that there is one bathroom with a single toilet that locks and the other is male only as there are 3 toilets in there. Mention this to her and see if she has an issue with it. If it's truly anti-hygienic then someone needs to learn how to aim better. Men should lift the seat and aim. I'm sure someone cleans the toilets, but if it's actually a hygiene issue then the men should not be allowed to use the women's.

It's an office, not a convenience store, there should be some hygiene there.

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