Workplace Culture

The Workplace Ethics of Class-Segregated Bathrooms: The Results

By Jon Hyman

Jan. 24, 2014

Two weeks ago I posed this question: Is it acceptable for a company to prohibit warehouse workers from using office bathrooms?

The results? By a margin of two to one, my readers expressed that it is not acceptable for a business to segregate its restrooms by class of workers.

This issue is not one of management rights versus worker rights. Or one of employer versus employee. Instead, this issue is about setting the correct tone for your workplace to send the right message to your employees. Do you want to be a workplace of harmony and teamwork, or secularism and division? Do you want everyone to work towards a common goal, or fight amongst themselves based on their perceived station?

Yes, there are certain situations in which separate restrooms will be necessary (safety and cleanliness come to mind). But, telling certain employees, for no good reason, that certain bathrooms are off limits plants seeds of disharmony and segregation that will not help your business achieve its best. Openness and inclusion breed teamwork and dedication. You want your employees to perceive management as part of the team, not as feudal overlords. Your policies should reflect this goal.

As for me, I’m off to use my golden key to use our executive washroom. Enjoy your day.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.  For more information, contact Hyman at (216) 736-7226 or jth@kjk.com. Follow Hyman on Twitter at @jonhyman.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at JHyman@Wickenslaw.com.

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