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Treating Disabilities Is Going Down The Toilet

, , , , | Working | June 27, 2018

(I am pregnant and have had awful morning sickness lasting the whole day. At about five weeks, I let my manager know so she won’t wonder about my extended bathroom breaks. I work in a large office building full of gossips. I am worried people will hear me getting sick or notice me being in the cubicle for ages and spread rumours before I am ready to announce my pregnancy. My manager speaks to HR, who notifies Building Security that I will temporarily need to use the only disabled toilet in the building, which is near the security desk. They also say we don’t currently have any registered disabled employees, so I can take as long as I need in there. A few days later, I am in the middle of a bout of morning sickness when someone tries the door. I ignore it and, as they don’t knock, I assume they have gone away. About five minutes later, the sickness has passed, so I wash up and exit. An angry woman I haven’t seen before is outside the door.)

Woman: “Finally! What was taking you so long?!”

Me: “Uh… That’s really none of your business.”

Woman: “It is when you keep me waiting. I have places to be.”

Me: “Well, you could have used one of the standard bathrooms instead of waiting.”

Woman: “No, I want to use this toilet. Why are you in there, anyway?”

Me: “I already told you: that’s none of your business.”

Woman: “But you’re not disabled!”

Me: “You don’t know that.”

Woman: “Yes, I do! You look normal! You’re not disabled!”

Me: “On that basis, neither are you, so why are you insisting on using the disabled toilet?”

Woman: “It’s none of your business! How dare you?!”

Me: “My point exactly.”

Woman: “Oh, f*** off. Why didn’t you answer me when I knocked?”

Me: “You didn’t knock. You tried the handle and then I thought you left.”

Woman: “Well, you should have told me you were in there.”

Me: “Did the locked door not make it obvious?”

Woman: “You’re such a b****. Just f****** let me in. And in future, stay away from this toilet. It’s not for you to use.”

(At this point one of the security guards comes over to see what the fuss is about. I fill him in.)

Security Guard: “[Woman], this is a disabled bathroom and is for use by employees who are permanently or temporarily disabled. You cannot stop someone from using it, and you cannot ask someone why they are using it. We normally turn a blind eye to people using this bathroom, but I’m now going to have to ask you to use the other bathrooms.”

Woman: “You can’t do that! It’s discrimination! I need to use this toilet; she doesn’t! She’s only faking. She just doesn’t want to do any work.”

Security Guard: “If you have a need to use this bathroom, please let HR know and they will notify us. Until then, you must use the normal bathrooms.”

Woman: “I won’t stand for this! I’ll contact HR to make a complaint.” *to me* “Tell me your name so I can tell HR what you’re up to.”

Me: “Happily. It’s [My Name].”

(Afterwards, a number of my colleagues told me this woman had emailed them to ask what my disability was, so I complained to HR. It turns out she had already complained to HR about me using the disabled toilet. When they said I had a legitimate reason to use the bathroom, she tried to get information on my disability from HR. This was the last in a long line of complaints against the woman, and she was let go.)

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