And You Think YOU Have a Difficult Employer?

In the “Age of Austerity” we read a good deal about cutbacks. Your boss charges you more for medical insurance, gives you less time off, expects longer hours, and wants you to be increasingly productive.

But, it could be worse.

What follows is a “memo” that originally fell into my hands on the company stationery of a now-defunct psychiatric hospital in the 1990s. Although the author was careful to be anonymous, for reasons that will become clear, it lays out a new “personnel policy.” I’ve made only a few very small adjustments to the document.

Just to make sure that you aren’t alarmed, this is a joke. Indeed, it can be found in one form or another on various sites on the Internet. It may have originated as far back as the 1980s:



In the past, employees were permitted to make trips to the restrooms as needed. Effective May 1, 1995, a restroom trip policy will be established to provide a consistent method of accounting for each employee’s restroom time and to reduce unproductive overuse of the facilities.

Under the new policy, a Restroom Trip Bank Account will be established for each employee. On the first day of each month, an employee will be granted twenty (20) “Restroom Trip Credits.”

Within the next two weeks, the entrances to all restrooms will be equipped with personnel identification stations that include computer-linked voice recognition software. During this period, the Human Resources Department will schedule recordings of each employee’s voice. One recording will be of the individual’s normal speaking voice, the other done under stress.

From April 1 through the end of April, the use of the Voice Print Recognition Stations will be optional upon entering the restroom. However, it is recommended that each worker acquaint himself with the new installations during this period.

Beginning May 1, each staff member must use the Voice Recognition Station in order to gain entry into the washroom. If the employee’s Restroom Trip Bank Account should reach zero, the door to the facility will not unlock in response to that employee’s voice until the beginning of the next month.

In addition, all restroom stalls are being equipped with “timed toilet paper roll-retractors.” If the stall has been occupied for more than three minutes, an alarm will sound. Thirty seconds after the alarm sounds, the roll of paper will retract into the wall, the toilet will flush, and the stall door will open automatically.

If the stall remains occupied, your photo will be taken.

The picture will be posted on the bulletin board by the beginning of the next business day. Anyone whose photo appears three times will be immediately terminated.

Your supervisor can answer any questions you may have about the new policy and procedures.

Have a nice day!

The image above is of a pseudo-17th-century women’s restroom sign taken on November, 2007 in Williamsburg, PA by Kilom691 and altered by AnonMoos. It is sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

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