Workplace bans 'number twos' in toilets, stipulates 'washing hands and peeing' only

A workplace banning customers and employees from doing number twos in the toilet is within its rights as long as there's somewhere nearby for people to go, says an Auckland employment lawyer. 

Kiwi Reddit user ‘Former_child_star’ spotted the firmly-written sign and posted a photo of it in the New Zealand sub-Reddit, but didn't reveal which shopping mall-based business they'd snapped it at.

The sign that had been recently erected above the loo informed users, "because of yesterday this toilet is for washing hands and peeing only". 

"Take a dump in the mall, please! If you ignore this, the toilet will be locked forever."

In a humorous move, someone pinned a meme of Marvel's 'Ant Man' Paul Rudd asking 'What the hell happened here?', underneath. 

The post racked up some hilarious responses from Kiwis. 

"There's no way I'm washing my hands in a toilet,"one person joked, while another acknowledged the aesthetic similarity to the signs in technology retailer JB Hi-Fi. 

"Something terrible happened here," noted another person

But it's not the first time the stipulation has been made in a business' toilet. Back in 2019, PR expert Trish Sherson admitted on The AM Show she had one rule in her office: No number twos. 

While it seems to go against employment legalities, Auckland employment lawyer Max Whitehead says it comes down to whether an employer or user has access to a bathroom somewhere nearby.

Whitehead told Newshub that while the 'Health and Safety at Work' Act of 2015 isn't specific in regards to 'toilet facilities', "it does say 'adequate facilities', which implies an employer has an obligation to ensure workers have reasonable access to toilet facilities". 

"That does not mean a toilet has to access every hour of every day," he added. 

"Reasonable means reasonable for a normal person - it would be impracticable to provide constant access to toilets for some employees."

Whitehead added in this case, if a toilet exists within an accessible distance from the workplace - such as in the mall, as stipulated - then it seems "acceptable". 

"All an employer is obligated to provide what is practically reasonable in the circumstances," he said.