Am I an asshole for using the handicap stall at my work if nobody who's handicapped actually works here?

My workplace of about 200 people isn’t open to the public. Despite being a warehouse job we have a single marked handicap stall (the type that’s extra wide for wheelchair access) However in the decade I worked here I’ve never seen a single person in a wheelchair or anyone else who might possibly have to use it work here, and since I noticed literally nobody else uses it it’s the one I always use (since nobody uses it it’s always the cleanest).

I brought this up with a coworker and they were aghast I was using it, “You need to keep it clean in case we have a visitor who requires a wheelchair comes here!” But it’s not like they never clean it, they clean everything at my work restroom even the sink that hasn’t worked in 4 years.

So am I somehow committing an unspoken rule violation by using it?

Handicapped stalls aren’t restricted like the parking spaces. Anyone can use them, but disabled folks should be allowed to use it first if there is a line.

Unless your toilet use is really messy, I can’t see any reason you shouldn’t use whichever restroom is more convenient. If you are that messy in the restroom (which I really doubt), go home to do your business.

Uh no! But this is coming from someone in the same situation as you. We’re not open to the public, I work nights, and nobody at my job is disabled.

The restroom gets cleaned every day.

I’d say no. I used the handicapped stall all the time when I was still back in the corporate world. I never saw a wheelchair user in my building, and we didn’t often get visitors who didn’t work there. Nobody ever complained about it.

Not to my mind. I’ll use the accessible stall without a qualm. I won’t if I plan to sit and read for a bit, but for a quick pee I’m not getting in anyone’s way (assuming I’m not at a packed concert or something).

On the one hand, there’s some established etiquette. Namely, don’t use the accessible stall if you don’t need it and another one is available.

On the other hand, that etiquette is established for places where someone who needs it has a reasonable likelihood of coming through; it sounds incredibly unlikely in your case, so that softens that etiquette.

On the other other hand, it sounds like you’re using it for a unique benefit, its cleanliness. You can only gain that benefit because other folks are respecting the general etiquette rule, which is a little skeezy; you’re gaming the system.

On the other other other hand, there’s no reason why anyone should follow the general etiquette rule at this workplace, it seems; the cleanliness of all stalls should balance out over time.

And on the final hand, if it’s a significant difference, maybe your workplace should clean the other stalls better or more often. Your sink is broken? GROSS!

I feel like this post would read better coming from @octopus .

I see your point, but on the other tentacle octopus has no hands. Perhaps the Human Centipede, which has the requisite number of hands and substantial insight into defecation etiquette.

I’d use it, I’ve used the single occupancy mens room too at my doctors when the women’s has been occupied.

In many cases, there are bathrooms with only two or three stalls, and one is accessible. Common sense dictates that nobody expects half or one-third of the bathroom capacity to be for the exclusive use of the small proportion of people who need the accessibility. And its not like a parking space - people aren’t leaving their bottom in there to poop and block access while they go shopping. At worst someone in a wheelchair might need to wait for one person to vacate.

That IS outdated. A Mexican restaurant I frequent has two single use bathrooms. One for ladies the other for men. Until finally they took down the Hers and His signs and replaced them with: We don’t care. Just wash your hands please.

I use the handicapped stall to change at the end of the day.

Of course, if a handicapped person comes into the restroom, they get first dibs on that stall. And i try not to spend too much time in it, in case someone comes by. But in the before times, i used it every Tuesday night for years and no one else ever showed up.

So I’d say you should go ahead and use it.

If there are multiple stalls, there are likely multiple sinks.

I don’t think there’s any problem with what you’re doing, but a person’s need for an accommodation isn’t always apparent. There could well be someone without a visible impairment who needs the grab bars to safely use the toilet.

Sure, but I’m not sure why that matters unless the impairment prevents them from waiting a few minutes. Which it might, of course. Sitting in the accessible stall and reading the paper for 20 minutes would be a jerk move, and that applies to all the stalls if people are waiting.

And then to leave the stall.

I was in a small hotel in rural Japan and there was a bank of squat toilets and one handicap toilet. Guess what I used?

You don’t need to be in a wheelchair to be considered handicapped.

If you have a bad back or bum knees, the handicapped stall has a higher toilet seat.

I swear, the “regular” toilets at PILOT truck stops are so low, you are practically sitting on the floor. I have no choice but to use the handicapped stall if I want to stand up after completing my job on the toilet.

Your coworkers may not have a handicap today. Who knows what will put them on crutches tomorrow?

And remember, some handicaps are invisible.


My parents ran a small business for decades with only two toilets in the building, one for men, one for women, both wheelchair accessible. My mom enjoyed being the only woman in the office and thus having her own personal restroom. But in any case, no one could avoid using the handicapped stall, which as far as I know, was never once needed by a person with a disability.

I think the only asshole here is your co-worker.

No problem at all. A few years ago, at work, I had a desk near one of the large handicapped bathrooms in the building. Despite it being far closer than the male bathroom I didn’t use it. Until I noticed that other people were using it regularly. Quite a few women used it to change going and coming from lunch time activities. Which made perfect sense, it was pretty spacious.