Pub-goer calls police as female staff clean toilets while he was using them


By Kirsty Topping

A PUB-GOER has claimed he felt “violated and embarrassed” after a female member of staff started cleaning the toilets while he was using them.

Norman Bailey, 50, said that the same situation would not have been allowed to happen in the female toilet.

Mr Bailey complained to the manager at the King’s Highway pub, part of the JD Wetherspoons chain, in Inverness and also contacted the police after the incident, but while officers took a statement they said no crime had been committed.

“I am not being prudish,” he insisted. “I went back down to the bar but couldn’t go up for a drink, I had to wait for the female employee in question to leave the bar area so I could be served by someone else.

“I just couldn’t – I have principles and my privacy was violated. I didn’t know if she had seen parts of me I prefer to keep private.

“If she had been sitting in a cubicle and a male employee walked in and started picking up litter around her feet – how would she have felt?

“At the time there were two guys working at the bar downstairs – it just needed one of the guys to come up.”

Mr Bailey also worried that having a woman clean the male toilets could easily lead to a situation which could be misconstrued.

The pub chain told Mr Bailey that training would be upgraded but he was left unsatisfied by the response and feels the complaint would have been handled differently had a woman complained.

“It is typical – not interested in one person’s genuine grievance, just acting for themselves,” he said.

He has also ruled out legal action as he feels it would be too expensive.

“I just want some acknowledgement,” he said.

A spokesperson for JD Wetherspoons said:

“We can confirm that the incident did occur at our pub in Inverness, The King’s Highway, several months ago. JD Wetherspoon has subsequently been in communication,with the customer concerned.

“Certainly, where possible, only staff of the same gender would carry out toilet checks e.g. men check the mens toilets etc., however, sometimes this is not possible and these checks may be undertaken by any member of staff.

“There are notices in the toilets to advise customers of this possible situation and staff are required to announce themselves as they enter the toilets. “



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  1. This is a breech of privacy laws. Permanent warnings do not give users a choice to use the facility with same sex privacy to which we are all entitled. Are men supposed to avoid urinals then if they don’t want to expose themselves to female staff? Female staff should not be sent to subserviently check around men exposed at a urinal-this is discrimination for staff and potential harrassment for users. Not safe for youngsters either who may be put in sexualised situations or safe for staff who may be accused of improper behaviour. If opposite sex staff are checking toilets same sex workers should check for existing occupancy first. Report abuse to the Equality & Human Rights Commission helpline-yhey are currently monitoring this situation.

  2. It seems to be common practice for female staff to enter gents toilets in Wetherspoons Pubs. I know from personal experience that on at least 8 occasions female members of staff have entered the gents toilets at the Calverts Court in Stockport when I have been using them, usually only washing my hands as since the first time it occurred I have refrained from using the urinals and will only use a cubicle. Wetherspoon’s excuses are pathetic these incidents were all on Friday or Saturday evenings when male staff were available, These unwelcome visits were not for cleaning purposes either, it appears there is storage space located within the gents.toilets. It’s no use complaining any person complaining about anything is asked to leave the pub, the management are appalling even refusing to give names to persons wishing to complain formally.

    Incidentally there are no warning notices and the females who enter the toilets do not announce themselves before doing so, common sense indicates it would be almost impossibleto do so considering there are double doors and no way of warning urinal users.

    Wetherspoons need to listen to their customers – I personally know many decent people who now go elsewhere, disgusted by incompetent and rude management – the only manager of a Wetherspoons pub that I have encountered, who had a reasonable grasp of the English language, was Polish.

  3. I’ve come across this article and comments by searching something somewhat related. I was actually searching for a female Landlady, on what to do when I suspect A patron/multiple patrons of abusing drugs in the male toilets.

    I cannot comment on Wetherspoons, or their policy as they have multiple staff at any one time. From my perspective though? Same sex checkers/cleaners where possible. I do smell a slight rat though in the misogynistic attitude of the person complaining, and the fact he refused to go to the bar. I’d like to actually know the full story, which I suspect isn’t entirely the one detailed.

    Anyway, back to my dilemma. We are a small community pub with a cracking crowd and a good mix of ages. Truly everything from 18 to 90 odd. We are one of those pubs that if we see you wandering down the road, your pint is poured and ready for you. It’s been run by myself and my husband, so toilet checks are not an issue. He has now been sent to work elsewhere as cover for 4 weeks.

    We have all female staff. We do toilet checks and increase these on Fri/Sat nights, just to ensure they are clean and bog rolls are topped up etc, but also to make sure that no-one does anything they shouldn’t. I have no option but to do these myself for the next few weeks. It’s not ideal, for either me or customers but we have no male staff. I’ll usually warn customers if I am going to check bog rolls etc, and I’ll stick a sign on the door warning them when I am in the loos. As a local pub, they appreciate this and mostly someone will stand by the door til I am done.

    When suspected drug use, it’s a grey area, and a warning ensures nothing is found. Yet I wish to respect privacy. Your thoughts?

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