Co-worker Left Ugly Mess In Restroom!

Question:

We are on the first floor of a 5-story office building and share a community restroom. Our landlord says some of the other tenants on the first floor have seen one of my co-workers, an older and over weight woman, leave a mess in the ladies restroom. I’m not talking about used paper towels, but urine and fecal matter. She is overweight and has a problem with bending over. I worked with her at another location and when there was a similar complaint, she chimed in with another employee that it was the homeless people who were always hanging around. We have no homeless people at this location. She has left in the middle of the day to go home and change due to accidents before. How do I approach her with this without embarrassing her or offending her? The office manager, who is male, said he would like to handle this, but wants me in the conversation as well because I’ve known her the longest and because he’d like another female in on the meeting. Help!

Signed,

Befuddled


Answer:

Dear Befuddled:

Your role is supportive of your office manager. He should say at the outset of the meeting that he asked that you be present, as he stated, so that another woman is in the room. His task is to speak to this woman presenting her with the information reported said–that she left the ugly mess in the restroom. This woman likely will deny it. There is no need to argue that she is the one who did it. If she denies it, your office manager will state how important it is to maintain a clean restroom and to ask her help in inspecting and making sure that the stool, surrounding area and wash basin are clean after use. There should be paper towels, stool brush, and mop in the room to aid in a clean up. Possibly he should have someone to monitor it, perhaps scheduling women from your office and representatives from the tenants to take turns to insure it is clean at all times.

Your role also is to assist this woman at an embarrassing time. Perhaps saying that you are sure Ms. Accused wants to enter a clean restroom too. Do feel free to share with us how the confrontation works out.

Clean working conditions are basic to building a sense of we are in this together–a spirit we call WEGO.

William Gorden