employee’s long bathroom breaks are tying up our bathroom — Ask a Manager

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employee’s long bathroom breaks are tying up our bathroom

A reader writes:

We own and operate a retail hardware store that has been in business for 35 years. We employ 8-10 staff and operate in a little under 6,000 square feet.

One employee who has been with us for over five years. He is vital to our small operation. However, he routinely takes extended bathroom breaks. We have one bathroom downstairs that we all use, including customers. It is the only place for us to wash our hands on the ground level of our building. We also have two full bathrooms and a full kitchen upstairs. These are kept clean and operable at all times.

We have advised all of our staff that for extended bathroom breaks we would prefer that they use the upstairs bathroom. We as owners also sometimes use the upstairs facilities.

In the last year, this employee has routinely been in the locked bathroom on the ground level of our store for more than 20 minutes. Once for 30 minutes. We have asked that all staff alert management or other staff if they are having “bathroom issues” and use one of the upstairs bathrooms. This employee refuses to comply and today used the downstairs bathroom for 24 minutes!

I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • How to reject an internal candidate
  • My employees won’t talk to each other and are having meltdowns
  • Is it strange if a company doesn’t involve HR in the hiring process?
  • My boss wants me to wait to tell people I’m resigning

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