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I work at a large Fortune 500 Company in a very tall building. Each floor has about 200 or so people. Recently the men's restroom has been a disaster, it is frequently trashed with garbage everywhere and excrement all over the seats and I do mean all over.

When I complained to management the culprits admitted to trashing the bathroom but then complained about me complaining about them. Management took no action saying they didn't know who did it (even though the people admitted to it) and we weren't allowed to complain about peoples bathroom activities they merely suggested I just use a bathroom on a different floor.

How do I resolve this?

closed as off-topic by Retired Codger, gnat, JakeGould, Rory Alsop, Mister Positive Aug 23 '17 at 15:50

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  • 35
    Just go to another bathroom. – DarkCygnus Aug 22 '17 at 16:00
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    From management's point of view, this would be a duplicate of Some of the employees don't check if everything has been flushed properly and that the bowl is clean, but as just an employee, it's not your problem to fix. – Dukeling Aug 22 '17 at 16:23
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    A large company, there must be someone whose role is specifically in regards to health and safety. Can you bring it to their attention? A bathroom used by 'chimpanzees' would invite all sorts of nastier things to go there. Depending on where you come from, it could be illegal in its uncleanliness. – user34587 Aug 22 '17 at 16:23
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    I'm actually surprised that people really admitted to trash the toilet. The main issue with that kind of (very usual) issue is usually to find the responsibles or find the reasons why they do this. Please note that it might also be a cultural thing. Having sometimes the same issue at work and doing some research, I realized (how ignorant!) that not everybody knows how to use a western toilet, sometimes because they were raised in other countries where toilets are really different, or where you have people dedicated to cleaning it, etc... – Laurent S. Aug 22 '17 at 16:39
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    Might depend on the country you're in, but if there's actually excrement all over the place then I would be surprised if it's legal to ignore the problem, as your management appears to be doing. You could talk to the building owners (assuming that's not your company, too) or, if necessary, to the local branch of your government's Health and Safety department. This is going outside the scope of the workplace, though, into legality. – Steve-O Aug 22 '17 at 19:59
58

Take a picture of it and provide to management. If you are over reacting they will say so, if it's really as bad as you say, then the picture will do all the talking for you.

In the meantime use a different bathroom, but just provide the picture and indicate that you just wanted them to see what you are talking about.

  • Very reasonable approach. If management has their own private rest rooms (which I suspect) I doubt it will help him though – smith Aug 22 '17 at 19:53
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    @smith - If management won't respond, then go to HR -- while it's often said that HR is not on the employee's side and is only there to protect the company, this is one time when HR and the employees are on the same side -- the company is legally required by OSHA to provide sanitary restrooms and if they are in the condition described by the poster, they clearly not sanitary. – Johnny Aug 23 '17 at 1:38
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    @EdmundReed, I'm not sure how anonymous you'd be after raising this issue with management and HR and providing them the picture. – Celos Aug 23 '17 at 6:43
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    @Johnny how can you claim what the company is legally required to if you even have no idea what is the country of the question? It's a pure speculation. – user50700 Aug 23 '17 at 9:46
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    I would advise against going to the press as Edmund suggested in the strongest terms possible. It is a terrible idea and is almost certainly against company policy. I would only ever go to the press over something I felt strongly enough about to be fired and given a terrible reference, because that is exactly what I would expect to happen. – kleineg Aug 23 '17 at 14:35
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There are really two options here.

First, the simple option of just using restrooms on a different floor. I would recommend this approach frankly.

The fact that your management (at a Fortune 500 company!) isn't actively taking steps to address this is a bit weird to me, which strongly is suggesting something else is going on that you are unaware of - or your claims are greatly exaggerated here.

However, if you really want to fight this, your second option is this. You need to be very objective and delicate (particularly since you already tried and got shot down). I would recommend waiting a few weeks since you first complained to the management and then, if the problems continue, setting up time with those management in person and calmly raise the concerns of:

  • The bathrooms are unsanitary to the point of unhealthiness
  • It makes you uncomfortable working in an environment where there are significant health concerns
  • Verify your management understands what actually are the problems
  • You would like to know what steps are being taken to prevent the problems in the future

Come away from this meeting with action steps of some sort.

If you are not 100% confident in being able to do this in a respectful and polite way DO NOT DO THIS. Your post has the tone of someone who would not be good at the sort of nuance required for this, it might not be so, but this sort of approach will require a good deal of office politiking.

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    Sadly the OP's story agrees with my experiences and anecdotes heard from friends at Fortune 500 companies. Management asks you for list of issues bothering you (in a manner which makes you believe their life depends on it), you enthusiastically offer the list of issues, then the list falls into a bottomless chasm and you never hear back from them (unless the issue is serious enough that multiple people quit over it, and sometimes not even then). Over time, I have learned to follow this mantra: "It is my job to give feedback, it is their job to decide how to respond to it." – Masked Man Aug 22 '17 at 17:47
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    I am not really surprised. The management will be using their own private rest rooms most likely and expects the employees to be able to work these issues by themselves – smith Aug 22 '17 at 19:51
  • @MaskedMan This seems to be true on a variety of issues. It took us 11 months to get new chairs and the company paid 8x the market value of them. No ones phones work and we are constantly told to open fake accounts. – user75914 Aug 22 '17 at 21:26
  • @user75914 Fortune 500 only mean the company is big. That in general don't means the company is a good one. I try to avoid Big Companies because the only way you can 'evolve' in this enviroment is by bureucracy navigation and 'smile & hand wave' while honding a backstabing dagger. Unfortunately this is the ideal place to find slave wages monkeys. Instead try to find a nice culture company where you can focus in actually producting something usefull. – jean Aug 23 '17 at 14:05
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How do I resolve this?

Do what you're told and use a bathroom on a different floor if it bothers you that much.

I realize you don't want to read this but in the grand scheme of things, you're making a mountain (of poo) out of a mole hill. You did what you should have. You went to management. Management gave you direction. Ignore that direction and take other avenues at your peril.

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    But the entire seat is covered? How is that a mole hill. – user75914 Aug 22 '17 at 16:16
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    @user75914 Because there's a simple solution. Do what management said. You may not like it and I know I wouldn't either. But the simple fact is that you're not management. You've done what any normal person would do. It also isn't preventing you from doing your job. If it takes longer and someone says something, say "I have to use the bathroom on 3 because this one has crap on the seat". But you can still do your job. That's while it's a mole hill. – Chris E Aug 22 '17 at 16:21
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    -1 as this is not just a preference thing. Sanitation is for disease prevention, not just convenience and prevention. If you want to look at black plague and the way it spread and was contracted the #1 condition for that is poor sanitation. If it was just urine that is one thing as alot of the bacteria that spreads diseases is not in mostly sterile urine, but the fact it is excrement is a huge reason for concern on disease spreading. The excrement doesn't have to be diseased coming out as it's prone to bacteria growth and will attract disease by being left exposed. – mutt Aug 22 '17 at 16:34
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    @mutt He was told what to do. He avoids the problem by using another bathroom on a different floor like he was told. There is a process for doing things. He did it. They responded. He won't get "diseased" if he follows it. Unless he has some condition that prevents him from using the bathroom on a different floor (such as an bladder or bowel issues) then going around (or pushing) management will not have favorable results. – Chris E Aug 22 '17 at 16:40
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    use a bathroom on a different floor - honestly? You think the solution to 3 people failing to use the restroom properly is to force the other 197 people into obstructing the restroom for 200 people working on another floor? That's one of the things one shouldn't do because if everyone did it, there would be mayhem – crizzis Aug 22 '17 at 20:57

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