Chinese man fired for spending excessive time in restroom

Employee's extended lavatory breaks lead to termination, court supports employer's decision citing excessive time spent in restroom


In a peculiar case that has garnered attention, a Chinese man was fired from his job for spending an astonishing amount of time in the restroom during work hours. The employee, identified as Wang, faced termination after it was discovered that he would spend up to six hours per day in the lavatory. The case took an unexpected turn when Wang filed a lawsuit claiming unfair termination due to medical reasons. However, the Chinese courts delivered a surprising verdict, ruling in favour of the employer.

Wang had been working for the company on a non-fixed term contract since April 2013. His extended restroom breaks began in December 2014, following medical treatment for an ‘anal problem’ that he had successfully recovered from. Despite the resolution of his medical issue, Wang continued to spend three to six hours a day in the restroom due to persistent pain.

Company records revealed that Wang made frequent visits to the lavatory, ranging from two to three times per shift and totalling around 22 trips within a 10-day period. However, it was the substantial amount of time he spent in the restroom, ranging from 47 minutes to 3 hours, that raised concerns.

Citing provisions in the employee handbook regarding tardiness, early departures, and unauthorised absence, the company terminated Wang’s contract in September 2015. In response, Wang filed for negotiation and requested reinstatement of his non-fixed term labour contract.

Unfortunately for Wang, his legal battle ended in disappointment as the Chinese courts upheld the employer’s decision. The courts reasoned that Wang’s excessive and prolonged stays in the restroom went beyond reasonable physiological needs, thereby justifying the termination.

This unusual case serves as a reminder of the importance of balancing work responsibilities and personal breaks. While occasional restroom visits are normal, excessive time spent away from work duties can have repercussions. The ruling emphasises the need for employees to adhere to reasonable workplace expectations and employers to enforce regulations to maintain productivity and efficiency.

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