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To want to be able to go to the toilet occasionally whilst at work?

(95 Posts)
CattyBrown Tue 05-Feb-13 07:58:54

I work afternoons and during the morning before I start work and also during my 10 minute break I tend to drink quite a bit of water, it's something that I have always done.

My supervisor however does not like anyone going to the toilet during shift time (IF I do go, I go when it is very quite and there is no work whatsoever to do). She always makes sly digs about how I should go on my break etc.

As long am I am not abusing the situation and going 6-7 times a shift, am I right in thinking that I should be allowed to go the toilet without being questioned and made to feel like a naughty schoolgirl?

StickEmUp Tue 05-Feb-13 08:00:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SDeuchars Tue 05-Feb-13 08:00:59

So you are basically going once an hour outside breaks? That seems excessive on a daily basis. Have you seen a doctor to make sure you do not have an infection or diabetes? Or cut the water - how much are you drinking?

StickEmUp Tue 05-Feb-13 08:01:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ErikNorseman Tue 05-Feb-13 08:02:30

If you need the toilet, you need the toilet! If I were you I'd consider raising a grievance for harassment.

Bearmonkeysmum Tue 05-Feb-13 08:15:07

SDeuchars if you read the op again you will see that they didn't state that they were going once an hour.

Op I've been in a similar situation where a manager used to try to ban people from using the toilet during a shift & if she did graciously allow you to go then would time you & expect you to pay back the time from a break or tag it on to the shift end. A call to HR confirmed we should be allowed to go when needed & as long as not excessive as in your example there would be no concern/right to question.

I think your supervisor is a bit daft to be honest, as Eric said if you need to go, you need to go.

Bubbless Tue 05-Feb-13 08:18:57

Legally you have a right to a toilet break every 15mins I'm sure I read somewhere! (Had trouble with my employer when very pregnant re:toilet breaks!!)

MortifiedAdams Tue 05-Feb-13 08:19:44

If you have a ten minute break, am I right in thinking that you work a five or six hour shift? How many times are we talking about here?

TiaMariaandSpringCleaning Tue 05-Feb-13 08:28:35

Assuming you're not taking the piss (sorry) with the number or length of breaks, of course you are entitled to go when you need to! Perhaps you should point out to her that her staff will be much more productive if they are comfortable, rather than crossing their legs and watching the clock until their next break comes so they can get some relief!!

Jinsei Tue 05-Feb-13 08:36:02

I never understand why employers get arsey over toilet breaks. I mean, it's not exactly fun to go to the loo, and if people are going to skive, surely they would think of something more exciting than a trip to the toilet!

It has never occurred to me to monitor how long the people in my team spend in the loo. Having said that, there's always a queue for the ladies' in our office, so maybe they're all a bunch of shirkers and I just never noticed!! shock

PerAspera Tue 05-Feb-13 08:51:30

Actually, I can see how employers can get arsey about toilet breaks. I used to work for a bank which had a bus stop right outside. There were three of us manning the counter as it was a small but busy branch.

There was one employee who always needed the loo just about two seconds before a particular bus drew up - the one that had all the OAP's from the sheltered housing on it. They always came in to withdraw their pension and it had to be done in specific sums for this, that and the other. They were lovely people, but they always wanted to chat; and we always had a queue so it could make other customers a bit narked at their wait.

Funnily enough she was finished just as the last one was being served... Used to drive us nuts, but legally there was nothing we could do.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 05-Feb-13 08:57:14

PerAspera, that's bad luck that you had a conniving colleague, but not everyone is necessarily like that.

The OP in fact specifically says she goes when it's quiet.

OP, I think you ought to call HR. They will most likely respond as described in Bearmonkeysmum's post, and you could tell them that you were asking because of feedback you've had from your manager about it.

LineRunner Tue 05-Feb-13 08:58:20

If you work with a PC you're meant to get up and stretch your legs, flex your hands and focus your eyes on something else regularly, anyway.

I've never really thought about what's 'reasonable' in terms of loo trips, though. It just wouldn't cross my mind that adults would need to be questioned on this. In fact I don't like schools questioning children on this.

riveroise Tue 05-Feb-13 09:01:53

I'm sure there's a legal right to use toilet during shifts at work.

Not in USA, according to the book "Nickel and dimed" a day care worker had to wear incontinence pads as she had no legal right to use the toilet during her shifts. sad

Let's hope The Consevatives don't take away the legal right to use the loo during work time, here.

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Tue 05-Feb-13 10:21:26

"Not in USA, according to the book "Nickel and dimed" a day care worker had to wear incontinence pads as she had no legal right to use the toilet during her shifts." shock

Really? As of course having to wet ones self while at work is essential for the creation of a good working environment...

nicelyneurotic Tue 05-Feb-13 11:02:54

Someone once told me that teachers have one of the highest rates of bowel cancer, due to holding in the need to go to the toilet until lunch or break times.

Just mentioning this as I'm sure there are health risks to not going, UTIs in your case.

Agree with other posters that you should speak to HR.

I'm so grateful my employer isn't like this. I drink loads of water and need to go ALL the time!

KatyPeril Tue 05-Feb-13 11:22:44

YANBU. I remember working in a spuermarket years ago and we weren't allowed to use the toilet (the manager kept the keys for it!). We had to beg pretty much. We weren't allowed drinks either so I guess we didn't need the toilet that much anyway!

MrsKoala Tue 05-Feb-13 11:42:11

As long as you aren't abusing it - like one colleague of mine who plays angry birds in the loo whenever it gets busy! - then I think it's very petty. However, now jobs are more scarce I do think employers have started this bollocks. At my job you have to put a different code into the phone whenever you step away from your desk. Codes for tea, toilet, talking to a colleague etc. then at the end of the month you all get told how long you spent doing each in a disapproving way. When I was pregnant they were always 'mentioning' it. Also I was told off for sighing and rubbing my back confused

Meglet Tue 05-Feb-13 11:43:49


I have IBS and go 3 times an hour some days. Once an hour would be a good day for me. And I can't face a screen for long periods as I lose concentration, much better to have a walk to the loo anyway.

quoteunquote Tue 05-Feb-13 12:41:33

Please name and shame these companies that treat people so badly, as I don't want to fund them by spending any of my money in their premises.

and join a union, It's not even good business sense to treat people like that.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 05-Feb-13 13:09:10

I agree with quote, places like that need exposing. I'm particularly appalled at the company MrsKoala describes shock

MrsKoala Tue 05-Feb-13 13:21:44

It's completely normal in big company/low paid/call centre environment. I work for a massive company in HR no less and we deal with hr for lots of other large companies, managers call us to ask such nice questions such as 'what's the minimum breaks I can give staff' 'can we legally refuse paternity leave' 'can we make it difficult for staff to claim expenses' etc. Some of the employers we have give bear min breaks and do not let staff use the toilet, the women have to wear double pads and tampons when on their periods as they can't go to the loo for hours. Once when I was pregnant I was the only one left on the phones and had to go to the loo, I thought I was going to wet myself but couldn't log off, so just went. No one knew, but I spent 20 mins fretting almost seeing my pants before I realised I was going to have to travel home in pissy trousers on the train if I did not go.

MrsKoala Tue 05-Feb-13 13:23:33

I mean I just went to the toilet not I just 'went' where I was sitting blush

LineRunner Tue 05-Feb-13 13:49:48

MrsKoala smile

But that's an awful lesson that girls and women learn early, from school, about 'padding up' on a period because they may not be allowed to go to a toilet. It took me till relatively recently when I was in my 40s to be able to say to a boss who was anxious for me not to leave a meeting to go to the loo, 'I'm going to change a tampon, everyone OK with that?'

WorriedMummy73 Tue 05-Feb-13 13:53:08

Applauds LineRunner!

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