my boss pees in a cup and dumps it in the kitchen sink

Warning: This is a really gross letter.

A reader writes:

What can we do with a boss who urinates in a cup in his office and then dumps it in the kitchen sink even when we (all women) are sitting there eating lunch?

We are certain of what is in the cup because it smells, is yellow, and it sits right on his credenza in plain view. He’s even left it outside the office, forgetting to empty it.

A few weeks ago I was washing my lunch dishes and he dumped it right on top of my stuff. I was pretty much in shock, I just couldn’t believe it.

Is there something wrong here that I’m not getting? He’s the owner, the boss, in his 70’s, and very respected, but I don’t understand this. No one knows what to say. We feel that if we said something, he would deny it and since he’s the boss, who knows what would happen. Is there any way to approach this? The only other males in the office are related to him. Someone did mention it to one of them, but nothing has changed.

I think this might be one of the grossest letters I’ve ever received, and that’s saying something. I very much want to believe it’s not true, but I’ve been writing this site long enough to know that people are gross and weird beyond imagination.

You must say something. There is no world where it is acceptable for your boss to pour a container of his urine on your lunch dishes, even if said dishes are in the process of being washed. There is also no world where it is acceptable for your boss to pour his urine down the kitchen sink, carry it in a cup throughout your hallways, or leave it sitting in a container outside his office door.  And there is definitely no world where it is acceptable for your boss to take out his penis at his desk, which he must be doing.

Your boss is like those long-haul truckers who pee in a bottle while they’re driving, except that he’s not in a truck, he has access to a bathroom, and other people are around. I would love to know why he can’t get up and take himself to the bathroom when the need strikes. Is he so busy that the Jones account cannot possibly wait two minutes until he’s back and he’s peeing at his desk so that work doesn’t lose seconds of his valuable time? And then, when he dumps it, why the kitchen instead of, you know, the toilet?

Or is your boss perhaps a non-human primate who doesn’t fully understand the concept of bathroom space versus eating space versus public space? (If so, that’s awesome that he’s been taught to use a cup, but he is probably not cut out for office life.)

Anyway, you must say something. It’s kind of mind-boggling that no one has said anything yet, but sometimes when someone is doing something so far outside the social contract, bystanders are paralyzed into silence because people just aren’t prepared for that level of weirdness.

I think you’re looking for some delicate way of raising this, but there isn’t one. So the next time any of you spot him carrying his own pee into the kitchen, just say something. Say, “Eeew, what is that? Don’t bring that in the kitchen!” Say, “You cannot pour that down the sink — people wash dishes in there.” Say, “What did you just pour on top of my dishes?” Say, “Is that a cup of urine? That’s disgusting — you need to deal with that in the bathroom.”

If he denies it, you can say, “What is that then?” and “Can you dispose of it in the bathroom anyway? It’s gross.”

All of you need to say this stuff, every time. Right now he’s getting away with it because everyone is too shocked to respond. Let yourself have the natural response. Say it, say it loudly, say it each and every time. Hell, meet with him as a group if you want and have the most awkward group meeting ever. Or ask whoever most has his ear in the office to have that meeting for you. But don’t just keep silently letting it happen.

You wrote in your letter that you’re worried about confronting him since “who knows what will happen” since he’s the boss. I assume you mean you’re worried about getting fired (and not, say, that he’ll start peeing in your office or in the reception area), but I think that’s really unlikely.

You can make as big a deal as you want about this because it’s over-the-top disgusting.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 789 comments… read them below }

  1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    I’m just boggled by the practical issues of this, let alone the weirdness.

    Does he shut his office door before he pees? Has anybody walked in on him? Does he sit or stand or what? Does he have a prostate condition or a catheter or something?

    1. The Original K.*

      Even if he does, he needs to deal with it in the bathroom! I know there are medical issues that can make elimination complicated, especially when people get older, but I presume there’s a bathroom in this office!

    2. Person from the Resume*

      I’m certainly not as strongly grossed out by this as most people will be. OTOH I agree that I just can’t fathom (and am completely boggled) the logistical issues of this and simply how far outside acceptable norms this it.

      Extreme Devil’s Advocate: Boss in his 70s: Is this a sign of cognitive decline? Possibly extreme medical issue? (Still, though, can’t exactly work out how this could seem appropriate to him.)

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        …I was also wondering if this was a sign of cognitive decline. Perhaps this could be brought to one of the family members who work in the office? First in a “hey this is concerning” way, and then in a “ok but it’s disgusting” way if they brush you off.

        1. Johnny Tarr*

          I would be willing to take that concern directly to Pee Boss *and* his family. “Mr. Boss, Mr. Family, we’re very concerned; you might not realize this, but Boss has been repeatedly pouring urine into the office kitchen sink.” If it is cognitive decline, they need to know what it’s led to. If it’s not, maybe having his competence called into question will change his behavior in a way that ordinary shame has not.

          1. valentine*

            The family knows and his reasons don’t matter.

            I misread the title as “my cup” and was relieved, only to get to the befouled dishes.

        2. Hills to Die on*

          OP you definitely need to let his family know. At the risk of armchair diagnosing…it seems like there could be a neurological issue here.

          1. Erin*

            Yes, exactly.
            The ‘tactic’ of saying “ew, that’s gross” to a seventy year old man casually pouring pee down the sink might just require the slightest modicum of sensitivity and understanding, wouldn’t you think?

            This advice is infantile and wrong. Just because something happens in the workplace, it doesn’t mean the maximum amount of stigmatisation and self-righteous horror needs to be off the charts.

        3. whatthemell?*

          Honestly I immediately thought of my 98 -year old grandfather, who didn’t have the best hygiene in his final years and would do weird stuff like this that my poor cousins then had to witness (the cups with yellow liquid, not the peeing into the cups Thank God). BUT – BUT!! People would call him out on it because he was sharp as a tack and could fully function when he wanted to.

      2. Tallulah in the Sky*

        Let’s say there’s a medical issue : just pour it down the toilet. Not in the sink of the cafetaria when everyone is eating. And certainly not on top of dishes and cutlery !

        1. New Job So Much Better*

          Even if he needs to check for passing kidney stones you just don’t do that in public. Ewww!

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            Yup! On top of the fishes *while* she was washing them? WTAF anyway? Sooo flucking gross!

            1. Just Elle*

              Seriously. I mean, even if someone just poured like, I dunno, leftover coffee, on my dishes while I was in the process of cleaning them I’d be mad. So disrespectful. But URINE. WHAT!?

              1. Mama Bear*

                I wouldn’t have been able to finish washing my dishes and I certainly wouldn’t ever be able to use them again, sanitized or not. I wonder if he splashed the OP….*shudder*

                1. Kendra*

                  “Okay, so, that’ll be $5 for a new plate, $10 for the silverware, and I’m giving my two weeks notice to you right now.”

              2. dramallama*

                I think I would actually scream in horror if somebody did this to me. Forget Alison’s conversation suggestions, I would just scream and keep screaming.

                1. Quandong*

                  You and me both. I wouldn’t have the ability to control this reaction, all my logical thought processes would stop.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            I think the inability to recognize that your power play makes you look like you have dementia counts as a sign of losing one’s marbles. Like, he could start coming to work naked, as a power play–“I’m the boss! I don’t have to wear a suit! Or any clothing!” But it would not land as “Wow, I your humble subordinate, must simply lower my head in the face of your awesome group rank.”

            1. Slartibartfast*

              Well it is a little “Emperor’s New Clothes”-ish. It’s clearly NOT OKAY but everyone feels like they have to carry on as if everything is normal because of the social dynamic in play. But I bet the first voice to speak up will lead to an avalanche of agreement.

          2. Dust Bunny*

            Agreed. My dad will pee in the yard and do other weird stuff, mostly because he knows it makes my mother angry (we live in the suburbs. He is fully visible from our neighbors’ second-story windows). Mom swears he’s getting feral in his older age. He’s fine cognitively; he’s just a cranky old man.

        1. Jennifer Juniper*

          Or as a way to intimidate the women in the office and get away with it on the basis of age/medical impairment.

      3. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        I’ve dealt with several senior men with cognitive deficiencies and all had deterioration in their toilet habits. All had lost judgment of appropriate behavior around toilet issues. I am loathe to make any diagnosis from an AAM letter, but this behavior may indicate a change in cognitive status.

        1. MatKnifeNinja*

          That’s what I’m thinking too. I’d bring it up to a family member before the boss.

          I’d probably say, “urine and other body wastes belong in the restroom/bathroom.”, and not add the extra commentary of “ew/gross/WTH/WTF” if I was there when it happened. More a statement of fact than a critique. People get hung up on the *ew gross- you are judging them*, than urine belongs in a toilet.

          I would probably get up and say it right next to him, where he doesn’t feel called out.

          1. Adlib*

            To be fair, OP does say “The only other males in the office are related to him. Someone did mention it to one of them, but nothing has changed.” Definitely worth bringing up again though.

            1. Arts Akimbo*

              If EVER there were a case for printing out an entire comments section to a letter and placing it on someone’s chair, this is it. The family members need to see how out of line this is and snap out of their denial.

          2. henrietta*

            I think the ‘ewww gross!’ comments are actually quite necessary as a way to signal that any other workaround will be unacceptable. Because you just know he’ll be finding a way to rules-lawyer his way out of going to the bathroom to pee. ‘What if I [peed in the plant/emptied my cup in the sink after work/whatever bonkers idea a person could have]?’ Nope: Bathroom. Full stop.

      4. Nonnynon*

        Seriously. I mean I know we are not supposed to arm chair diagnose, but this is so far outside of normal behavior (specifically pouring one’s urine in dishes as they are being washed), in and out of work, that family members, ones who do not work there, may need to be looped in.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I just in my heart need this to be the result of some kind of actual physical problem with his brain because otherwise there is an adult human ostensibly in possession of all their faculties parading a cup of his own piss through his office and dumping it out over someone else’s dishes and I cannot handle that emotionally.

          LW seems to be made of sterner stuff than me — I don’t think I’d ever be able to use that kitchen again, I’d be wrecking my finances buying takeaway daily because I couldn’t handle the Pee Sink.

          1. Kyrielle*

            Or pack a lunch in a way that lets you keep it at your desk, and bring the dishes home to wash, because yeah, neither my food nor my dishes would ever even be in the kitchen, even if not at the sink. Ew.

          2. TechWorker*

            NOT equivalent (though still gross) – at uni we had shared bathrooms but sinks in our bedrooms, for brushing teeth and washing dishes after breakfast or whatever. I think basically all of my male friends admitted to pissing in the sink when they were too lazy to go down the hall in the middle of the night. Some women were pretty grossed out by how the previous occupant might have treated their room…

          3. AnnaBananna*

            Your first paragraph is worded so perfectly and encapsulates my feelings entirely. I just….I can’t even. I’ve never wanted someone to have dimentia more in my life than reading this letter.

      5. Remedial Chaos Theory*

        I’m less bothered by the “cup of urine” part (cognitive decline, catheter, mobility issues, etc, would account for this), but dumping it in the kitchen sink, in view of others, on top of their dishes, in an office setting, is absolutely, completely, thoroughly unacceptable.

    3. Zip Silver*

      It’s more likely that he’s on a catheter or something, rather than just peeing in a cup, and he probably dumps it in the kitchen so that he can clean the cup right afterwards. A perfectly reasonable thing to do, it’s the doing it in a public place that’s not reasonable.

      OP you’ve got to say something. Just mention that it’s kind of gross to do it in the kitchen sink, and ask him to do it in the bathroom. I would think he’ll be more embarrassed than angry.

      1. Aoifs*

        Yeah since he’s a 70 year old my brain immediately went to catheter. So I don’t think it’s quite as freakishly bizarre as someone who – i don’t know, prefers to pee into a cup in an office as opposed to a toilet? Hopefully he’s just out of touch and believes nobody notices what it is that he’s doing and one appropriate ew reaction will startle him into place.

      2. Murphy*

        Thank you for providing the only semi-reasonable explanation I can think of for having pee in a cup. (Obviously taking it to the kitchen sink or just leaving it lying around isn’t ok.)

        1. Wendy Darling*

          He can buy a damn bottle of Dawn and keep it either in the bathroom or in his office with the cup! There is legit no excuse for parading your pee cup through the office to the kitchen to deal with it! Much less EMPTYING IT ON SOMEONE ELSE’S DISHES (RIP those dishes which will never be clean again in our hearts regardless of their actual bacterial status).

          1. Jaybeetee*

            I would probably have tossed those dishes – there’s just no way, no amount of cleaning/sanitizing/boiling, that would allow me to ever eat on “dishes that had pee poured on them” again.

            1. Zip Silver*

              It’s too much worse than food we eat, like using a cutting board that’s had raw meat in it, or eating sausage with natural casing. Heck, eating eggs is basically just chicken menstruation.

              1. Wendy Darling*

                I mean, regardless of the actual logic or illogic of it I would just never be able to forget that one time my gross boss dumped a cup of pee on those dishes.

                Sometimes something just never FEELS clean to you no matter how much you clean it. (Similarly I wouldn’t be able to deal with the pee sink — I know I could bleach it and lysol it and it would technically be clean, but it is forever filthy in MY HEART.)

                1. Works in IT*

                  Yeah, just reading this article has me feeling nauseous. I can’t imagine how much worse I’d feel if it was *my dishes* that I would need to eat from in the future. I wouldn’t be able to use those dishes again.

              2. Remedial Chaos Theory*

                Those things are things I assume we’re eating voluntarily, though. I know what eggs are, I know what natural casing is, I buy them anyway. I’d draw the line at some other person’s urine, which I definitely did not sign up for.

                1. Wendy Darling*

                  I was talking to someone about this the other day — I’m actually very squeamish about foods but I took some cooking classes on sausage-making and actually working with natural sausage casings made me way more okay with them than I had been! They’re REALLY clean by the time they’re distributed to the people making sausages, and then when you’re prepping them you clean them some more. They’re also translucent so there’s nowhere for anything gross to hide. Logically they are less likely to cause you issues than, say, most people’s clean kitchen counters.

                  That said, I fully accept the illogic of grossed-out-ness and fully endorse anyone who is grossed out by sausage casings to give them a skip (I’ll have your sausage if you don’t want it). There’s plenty of stuff I don’t eat because it grosses me out in some way that doesn’t hold up to objective scrutiny.

                  Similarly I know if poor LW put their dishes through the dishwasher they would be objectively clean, as in free from lingering pee particles/bacteria/whatever, but 1. I would still be grossed out and that wouldn’t be good enough for me and 2. I would harbor a totally irrational belief that this had contaminated the entire dishwasher. Urine + food implements is just that much of a BIG NO for me. And I think for a lot of people.


      3. Falling Diphthong*

        My recent experience of catheter bags is that they hold a fair amount of liquid. And draining the bag to transfer said liquid into a pitcher for disposal requires some dexterity.

        1. Slartibartfast*

          You don’t necessarily have to put a bag on the catheter though. Lots of people cath just to let the urine out and don’t leave the catheter in place unless they’re actively peeing.

      4. Flash Bristow*

        So use the disabled accessible toilet to empty. The one with a sink in it, and privacy.

        1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

          That’s far from a universal standard. The model I am used to in US west coast office buildings is a larger toilet cubicle with hand rails alongside standard size cubicles, sharing the same out of cubicle sinks as the inaccessible toilets.

      5. Quandong*

        One of my ex-BFs developed a medical condition at the age of 42 and required the use of a catheter (which type of catheter and what condition are not relevant here).

        I’m here to tell people with no experience about urine bags that they are designed to be easily and hygienically emptied into a toilet by either the person wearing them, or a carer.

        IF (and it’s a big IF) the OP’s boss is having problems managing his catheter, there are a lot of alternative actions available to him. And he would have been instructed clearly and repeatedly how to dispose of the contents of a urine collection bag!

        There is no reasonable excusefor the OP’s boss to dispose of bodily fluids in a kitchen sink. Use of a catheter in no way explains this foul behaviour. Something else is at play here.

        1. BTDT*

          Thank you. I have a family member who has to use a catheter to urinate and he ALWAYS does this in the bathroom. Even when he’s at someone’s house and could use any number of private spaces, he still uses the bathroom. I can’t even imagine doing this at one’s work desk. There are not enough WTFs in the world for that.

      6. Helena*

        Catheters have little taps in the end that are designed to be emptied down toilets. Having a catheter bag actually makes this less acceptable, not more – he has no frequency/urgency excuses, and can wander over to the bathroom in his own sweet time, at entirely predictable intervals, to empty it.

        Signed, a nephrologist.

    4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      This has to be an OSHA violation. I know CW is that urine is “sterile” (it’s not), but even in a world where this is his assumption, this practice makes no sense.

      Let’s suspend reality and pretend it’s ok to pee in a cup in your office. Even then, he should be disposing of the waste in the restroom. Folks with personal colostomy and catheter bags understand that these are to be emptied in a toilet. I know exactly zero people who think it’s ok to dump this stuff in the kitchen sink on top of people’s dishes.

      Please excuse me while I dry heave.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        That’s an excellent point. Even if the male relatives who work there aren’t motivated by the unsanitary factor or concerns for the boss’s mental health, they would perhaps be moved by the possibility of receiving a fine. This is the approach I would be using to bring it up.

        1. Hills to Die on*

          Never mind – I see downthread that this likely isn’t an OSHA violation.

      2. VictorianCowgirl*

        I feel like there’s a literal connotation from this that this man is actually literally making his territory by urinating on someone’s belongings.

    5. Ms. Mad Scientist*

      I’m voting for boss is a non-human primate, mostly because I like the idea of a monkey wearing a suit and working in an office.

      1. Clorinda*

        I don’t think that nonhuman primates urinate on or near food, though. Cats and dogs don’t. So this behavior is odd by higher mammal standards, not just human standards.

        1. Ktelzbeth*

          My cat pees in my sink (unfortunately) and drinks from the faucet. I had actually hoped when she started drinking from the faucet that she would quit peeing in the sink because she wouldn’t want to pee where she drank, but no such luck.

    6. Librarianne*

      My grandfather had prostate cancer and as a result has a catheter. He’s still expected to empty it in the bathroom. There is NO excuse for this behavior. *shudders*

    7. Flash Bristow*

      Must admit I wonder if he has a problem, as if he’s able to contain one “portion” in a cup he must be going little and often.

      Warning: maybe gross, but –
      I know I produce a good half litre at once. Whereas the containers medically provided for such purposes aren’t big enough. So if he can get it in a cup I’m thinking he probably does have an issue and maybe doesn’t get enough warning. But as I’ve said lower down, there are alternatives (move office! Carry pee bags! Wear adult diapers!) And ffs keep it private!

      1. Wendy Darling*

        And I mean if he had an OCCASIONAL emergency and chose to pee in a cup instead of in his pants or on the floor, and he disposed of it discreetly in a toilet, it would not be as much of a thing. I would understand that! But that is not what he is doing. He is leaving his urine sitting around in a cup where people are encountering it, and emptying it in THE KITCHEN SINK.

      2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        I mean, it’s plausible that he can’t make it to the bathroom in time. But pouring your urine on top of dishes in the kitchen sink is really disgusting, and I am not a squeamish person at all. A cup carried into the bathroom and cleaned would not make me recoil in the same way.

    8. Accidents do happen*

      I’m a woman that has to use a catheter to go to the bathroom, because of a condition I was born with. In all my life, (I’m 40-ish) I had to relieve myself once with a catheter and a bottle. But it was still in the comfort of my own home and the bathroom was not available at the time and my health wasn’t that great either.

      No one knew or saw, I made sure to dump it in the toilet once it became available. And I cleaned like crazy, all the while silent tears were falling from my eyes and I was mentally berating myself and feeling very much ashamed. The thing is, I have a medical condition that forced me to do that (I by God, I hope I never have to do that again), I cannot fathom why someone would do that willingly and even show off about it?!! WTF?!!!

      1. Quandong*

        I hope you don’t have to do that again. And I’m sorry that people are reaching for ‘uses a catheter’ to try and explain this outrageous and offensive behaviour from OP’s boss.

        1. MerciMe*

          Seconding Quandong, who has it right. Sympathy and support – that sounds like it was an awful experience.

    9. charo*

      I’m surprised commenters aren’t saying he may have dementia in his 70s. Are there other signs? If not, it’s a very hostile act.
      It’s tempting to say, just report this to the appropriate agency, Labor Dept. has oversight here, doesn’t it? It’s a public health issue and if you save a cup that he leaves out, for evidence, his DNA can be tested. Video finding a cup of urine left out in the office, and putting it in a ziploc bag.
      Can’t imagine talking to him will do any good.

    1. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

      I’m going to say bluntness as a group. Maybe also include several family members because maybe they aren’t aware of how bad it’s getting (I’m assuming that the male family members at the company are at least aware of some of what is happening).
      This is a good way for boss to unwittingly get the whole office sick.

      1. Observer*

        You’re giving the family too much credit here. Just the fact that he’s doing ANY of this should be a major red flag and blaring klaxon. Yet, nothing has happened, even though some family members HAVE been told.

        1. fposte*

          Yeah, I think there’s a circularity on both sides. If you’re in the social realm of “Eh, dudes pee in bottles and cups, Dad’s always done that, the rest of us just dump it in the bathroom” they’re not going to see reason for alarm. But people who find this the grossest thing they’ve ever heard of can’t imagine somebody not taking action over this.

        2. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

          I’m almost wondering if it was an extended family member who was told. I’m kinda hoping that female and immediate family might have a different opinion of the matter (and may be in the dark as to what is going on).

          1. Quandong*

            I don’t understand why you mention a female family member in particular. I find this quite weird.

    1. Vax is my disaster bicon*

      Same, I think my soul left my body around the pouring urine over dishes bit…

  2. Murphy*

    There have been a lot of jaw dropping titles, but I actually said out loud “What the f*ck?” when I read this one.

  3. A Simple Narwhal*

    Oh MY god.

    I saw Alison’s preview tweet about this the other day and yet I was still unprepared to read this letter.

    I…I don’t even know what to say. Alison gives good advice, yet it is advice that should not have had to have been given. I’d be tempted to have just dropped the dishes in the sink, walk out of the building, and never return.

    1. No Green No Haze*

      Alison gives good advice, yet it is advice that should not have had to have been given.

      Confession: this applies to a lot of letters here, and they are always, always my favorites.

      1. Parenthetically*

        YES. I re-stumbled across one of my favorites yesterday — the “I’m going to a nude sauna with my coworkers and my nipples are pierced” one and it just delighted me all over again. (Not that that is advice that shouldn’t have had to be given, per se, just fantastically unusual in a WOW LIFE IS A RICH TAPESTRY kind of way.)

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I mean, I usually feel emotionally prepared for these letters. Even with the disclaimer, I had a negative physical reaction upon reading it.

      1. Jadelyn*

        Same! The headline, then the disclaimer, and I was kinda like “well with a headline like that, of course it’s gonna be gross.”

        And then I got to the bit about pouring it on the dishes while OP was washing them, and my soul departed my body out of disgust.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Must admit I sort of wish I’d read it at the *START* of lunch not the end.

  4. AnotherAlison*

    Pretty sure this is a “your boss isn’t going to change” situation, and the OP & her coworkers all need new jobs. I don’t think you can make a 70 year old man who is doing this see the light.

    1. CatCat*

      Agree. Somehow, this dude has normalized his behavior. I just don’t see a challenge going well. “Gosh, I *shouldn’t* be dumping my piss in the kitchen sink? Guess I better stop!” Nope, don’t see it. Though I’d love to be wrong and hope we get a good update.

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        Maybe it’s a power move? Like he gets a thrill out of it, and once he gets called out that thrill disappears? Ugh I don’t know, there are no winners here.

        1. fposte*

          My guess is that it’s just that to him this is his house–it’s a family business and he’s the owner of it, and the sink is the closest place for him to dump his pee cup. It’s a coin toss whether he’s counting on “Nobody’s said anything so they must not mind” or “I don’t really care if they mind.”

        1. MatKnifeNinja*

          More like does the boss care if anyone notices?

          I’m guessing he does this at home. I know people who actually pee in a sink. I’ve seen much grosser.

          Anyhoo. The best you can hope for him dumping it in the bathroom sink or toilet. Still gross, but at least it contained in a room for bodily fluids.

          If boss is peeing in a cup. He’s not washing his hands afterwards. I’d be thinking dementia, and he’s doing this at home.

          Losing his marbles or no fawks to give. I’d be eating at my desk or car. And Clorox wiping surfaces.

        2. Kiki*

          I was thinking that since he’s older, perhaps he doesn’t smell very well and thinks he is being discrete? Doesn’t excuse throwing it the kitchen sink on dishes (gross if people know or not), but it is possible he will be super embarrassed to find that literally everyone knew it was pee.

      2. Septembergrrl*

        It’s possible he doesn’t realize people know what he’s doing — lots of people have a lousy sense of smell, and he may have deluded himself that the dumping is sufficiently discreet that nobody would notice. But that’s definitely a best-case scenario.

      3. Amethystmoon*

        In any large corporation, HR would be being called in and this guy would be in trouble, medical issue or no medical issue. Because hello, harassment? This is why I don’t work for small companies…too much is allowed that wouldn’t otherwise be.

    2. Wherehouse Politics*

      I promise you the first words out of his mouth when confronted is that urine is sterile, and will shrug off the confrontation as “ladies’ squeamishness”. He’s like a dog lifting his leg up to mark his territory.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            Right. I’m not seeing the connection either. One is a private bathroom that will be washed out, presumably with bleach (please, lord, let there be bleach), while the other is a public communal area at work that may or may not get properly disinfected.

            1. So so Anon*

              I wasn’t thinking of private bathrooms. I was thinking of situations that have shared facilities (e.g. camp counselors, college dorms with RAs, etc.)

              1. fposte*

                I think the gross factor gets ranked for people. Some people think peeing in the shower is gross. More people will think peeing in a communal shower is gross. More people will think peeing in the kitchen sink is gross. More people will think peeing in a shared kitchen sink is gross. More people will think peeing in a shared kitchen sink with dishes in it is gross. I think to go beyond that you have to move away from anything with plumbing entirely.

            2. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

              Weird tangent, sorry, but you shouldn’t use bleach to clean urine because urine contains small amounts of ammonia, and you should never mix bleach and ammonia because it can create chlorine gas. Vinegar, however, is excellent at neutralizing urine and removing stains.

          2. Hills to Die on*

            Unless you are Kramer from Seinfeld and are trying to wash food while you are in the shower, it’s not the same thing. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for people using toilets but it’s different.

            1. So so anon*

              There’s also a Seinfeld episode where George is peeing in the showers at his gym. One of the characters, Jerry, maybe references how it’s not great to have to stand in a pool of someone else’s urine.

              You do what you want in your own home. If everyone who uses a communal shower is fine with people urinating there, great. But otherwise, I don’t think it’s acceptable.

      1. Shay*

        No no no no no
        I’m afraid you are right. The comment section is full of even more horrors.
        (Also, for the record, urine is not sterile.)

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I think it’s worth making a good faith effort to have the WTF/CTJ talk with him, as a group, though. But yes, I’d be looking for new jobs in case he’s truly lost it.

  5. JW3*

    I can’t even imagine. I think I need to go puke. In the bathroom, not the kitchen sink.

    1. AndersonDarling*

      I had to stop visualizing the description because I was going to gag. I . . . I need to go watch kitten videos now.

    2. Moray*

      I…honestly wish I hadn’t seen this. The bold-text warning at the top of the letter wasn’t really enough for my see-words read-words brain to hit the brakes.

    3. EddieSherbert*

      I think I’d need to throw out those dishes. That he dumped his pee on…. *shudder*
      Scratch that, I’d definitely need to throw out those dishes.

      1. Lx in Canada*

        Yeah, I would 100000% toss those dishes!!! NO WAY am I going to use them again, even if I scrubbed them. Just the mental association would be too much.

  6. Rez123*

    WTF?! I. can’t. even.
    Here I am, trying to eat my yogurt. Regretting the mango sauce.

    1. RJ the Newbie*

      Mine was pineapple. It was sadly, not eaten. There could be a plethora of reasons this is happening, and I agree with what was said upthread – now is the time for bluntness. This behavior is unacceptable.

  7. The Original K.*

    ON TOP OF YOUR DISHES? Oh my God, I might have just quit. Just grabbed my bag, left my work ID and whatever I use to get into the building on my desk, left the dishes in the sink, and walked out.

    I think you should start shaming him for this. He needs to handle his urination in the bathroom, point blank and period, and if he has to be shamed for that to happen, so be it.

      1. NW Mossy*

        “Why were you fired from your prior position?”

        “I raised concerns about improper disposal of human waste.”

        1. fposte*

          I wouldn’t even euphemize it. “My boss dumped his pee out in the kitchen sink while we washed dishes.”

          1. NW Mossy*

            I agree that straightforward and straight-faced is best here, but speaking for myself, I would need that level of distance from this whole horrifying situation so as not to lose my dang mind.

        2. Meredith*

          “My boss poured a cup of urine on me and my dishes as I was washing up in the kitchen sink. I reacted poorly. It was really a learning experience for us all!”

            1. Elitist Semicolon*

              Am now envisioning the Knight Templar at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: “He chose…poorly.”

    1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      I would buy a pack of paper plates/bowls/cups and some plastic forks/knives/spoons and never use a dish or the kitchen sink in that place ever again.

      I mean really, the BATHROOM sink probably has less pee in it.

      1. Sharrbe*

        Yeah, I don’t think I could ever use that sink ever again. Not enough bleach in the world.

        1. Iris Eyes*

          That’s because the “soul” of the sink has been contaminated. The actual surface could be sterilized but many humans exhibit a belief that some how intangibly a thing can be corrupted or made on a level beyond the physical “unclean.” It has been really important in the development of sanitary practices throughout human history. Some people are really sensitive to this others barely exhibit it at all.

          Humans are so interesting.

          1. EmKay*

            Like when my mom pointed to a really old couch in my grandparents’ house and said to 12 year old me “your dad and I used to make out on that couch” and I said “ewwwww MOM”? Like that?

            1. Iris Eyes*

              That’s probably more related to the innate aversion to incest. But probably has threads of both.

          2. fposte*

            Yes, it’s similar to the work on disgust that Paul Rozin does. As you intimate, it goes beyond the cultural, in that we’re definitely hard-wired to find some things disgusting and to stay away from them, but what those things are is very culturally inflected.

            1. Iris Eyes*

              Yeah! Its a pretty innate thing but culture shapes it. The waters of disgust will flow but culture is the channel it flows through.

          3. Your Weird Uncle*

            You’ve just explained my entire life to me, but I have never known a better way of explaining it! I have two cats, Barfy* and Pukey*, and have cleaned up so much puke and other cat-related grossness (you don’t even want to know) from the floor that, even though I know full well I cleaned it up and wear slippers like ALL the time, I will still pretend-hopscotch all over the house. I’ve also been known to rewash items that have fallen on the floor whilst folding laundry, just because that floor is gross. My stepkids think I’m weird for not allowing them to put their feet up on the pillows on the couch, and I think they are disgusting for not wearing slippers. Rich tapestry of life indeed.

            *Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

              1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

                My longhaired cat went through a phase of getting poop in her bum floof, and wandering around the house obliviously sitting on all the things.

                It was *awful.*

                1. Lx in Canada*

                  My cat also had that phase when he had roundworms. It was traumatic. He’s a short/medium-hair boy and he has lots of floof around his bum, so he’d have runny poop and then get it on his bum, then everywhere…

            1. Jules the 3rd*

              Might want to check their thyroid levels – my Barfy got much much better once he went on thyroid suppression meds.

          4. Wendy Darling*

            Ask A Clean Person Jolie makes comments sometimes about things being “emotionally unclean” — sometimes something so nasty happens to something that even if you know it’s physically clean it is contaminated on an emotional level and you just cannot anymore.

            I’m weirdly sensitive about some things and not others but it turns out that pee that’s been sitting around in a cup + food area = NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

            Which is funny because I’ve totally thrown my dog in the kitchen sink and washed him and then just bleached the sink after and been fine, and it’s not like he uses a bidet after he poos yanno?

            1. Iris Eyes*

              Yep, isn’t it wonderful how inconsistent it is? There are tons of things like that where from an objective level they are just as bad or worse but subjectively we assign them less weight. Like for a while I couldn’t eat whole strawberries because it looked like the inside of a tomato (trypophobia related I think, don’t Google that).

              1. whingedrinking*

                One of those “holy crap, you’re right!” moments for me was when reading Marth Nussbaum’s excellent book, Hiding From Humanity, which is about how shame and disgust influence moral thinking. She pointed out that as a rule, humans tend to treat things we think of as “part of the body” as different from things that have been expelled from the body even when they’re objectively identical. We are just fine, for example, with swallowing our own saliva as long as it’s in our respective mouths, but you’d never deliberately spit in a glass and then drink it. There’s a range of how gross we tend to find different fluids and stuff – you’d probably be more willing to touch someone covered in sweat than someone covered in vomit – but almost all of them kind of squick us on some level. The one exception seems, weirdly, to be tears, and no one knows why.

                1. londonedit*

                  Yeah, like hair on your head is perfectly fine, not gross at all, but as soon as hair falls out of your head and is on the floor/in the bath/anywhere else, it’s ewwwwwwww gross, hair!!!

      2. Hills to Die on*

        But do you boil the dishes or just throw them away? I think I would have to toss them because every time I looked at the dishes with my food in them…I couldn’t eat.

        1. The Original K.*

          Throw them away. Zero chance I use those dishes again, I don’t care if they’re washed in an industrial dishwasher. I’d forever look at them and think “boss’s urine.” I’d have to use paper plates because washing anything in the sink would be a no-go as well.

    2. Shark Whisperer*

      Agreed! I think before I quit I would have involuntarily started screaming loudly. I honestly don’t know how people are able to stop themselves from screaming every time he does it.

      1. The Original K.*

        Right! I think a loud “Ew!” would have slipped out of my mouth as a reflex when I saw someone pouring urine on my dishes.

        1. RUKiddingMe*

          Yeah I’m gagging over this. I would have immediately stopped washing them and hone to the bathroom to wash *me* like 1000 times.

        2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          I’m pretty sure I would have gone straight to “WHAT THE F** CK ARE YOU DOING??!!”.

          1. Alfundo Funk*

            Me too. Then loudly ask, WHY ARE YOU POURING PEE ON MY DISHES while we are eating? What’s the matter with you? Is this a joke? I’m reporting you to……

        3. whingedrinking*

          I went to see a production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane a couple years ago. Normally I don’t react in a vocal way to stage performances, but when it got to the part where Mag sneaks into the kitchen and empties her bedpan into the sink, I actually yelped.
          I think my reaction to urine pouring onto my dishes would have been a shriek only dogs could hear.

      2. Wendy Darling*

        I am divided on whether I would actually scream or just stand there totally silent, too aghast to speak. I am leaning slightly toward silence because in the past when I’ve seen something terrible I’ve tended to stand there for a minute and then go “Oh.”

    3. Thrill*

      I’m pretty sure that that’s assault in my municipality. And like… so many municipalities.

      1. fposte*

        That’s a pretty hard sell, though. The LW just says it was on top of her stuff, not on her, and there’s no indication he was trying to get her with it. While state laws vary on what assault and battery constitute, he also doesn’t seem to be intending to commit a battery.

        1. ChimericalOne*

          She said he dumped it on top of her dishes while she was washing them. But I imagine she would’ve mentioned it (more clearly) if some of it splashed on her at that time.

          Regardless, I think Thrill was just making a point, not telling OP to press charges or anything!

            1. Wendy Darling*

              legally it’s almost certainly not a thing but this is a chemical weapons attack in my heart.

      2. WellRed*

        I think he’s getting a subversive thrill out of this and that would make it lean toward sexual harassment. But I think a “ewwwww!” is the way to go here.

    4. Veryanon*

      Yeah, I think I would have just walked out, never to return. No job is worth that. I saw the teaser for this letter on Twitter, but I was still not prepared.
      I really don’t get gross people. Maybe it’s a cognitive issue, but even so, JFC.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        THEM: And why did you leave your last job?
        YOU: My boss emptied a cup of pee over my lunch dishes while I was washing them so I walked out and never came back.
        THEM: …fair.

    5. Kix*

      Wouldn’t his behavior constitute an OSHA violation? I’d have to call someone for advice, starting with my local or state health department.

      1. Meredith*

        I don’t think communal kitchens at work have nearly the same standards as, say, commercial kitchens. Might be worth a call to the local health department, but I think work kitchens just need the most basic requirements – working fridge, running water.

      2. Drago Cucina*

        Local health department was my immediate thought. The possibility of transferring e coli in a shared kitchen would (I think) be a concern.

        1. SarahTheEntwife*

          This is not to in any way minimize how disgusting the boss’s behavior is, but I pretty much assume any shared non-commercial kitchen is going to be transferring who-knows-what from various people’s inconsistent levels of home kitchen sanitation. How many letters have we seen here along the lines of “the breakroom kitchen is gross and nobody cleans it”?

    6. discarvard*

      (Tune: On Top of Old Smoky)
      On top of my dishes
      All covered with pee
      I lost my damn temper
      When my boss dumped his wee.

      Now working is torture
      And firing is grief
      But a piss-poor employer
      Is worse than a thief.

  8. Mini Sick*

    I think I just sicked a bit in my mouth! This is one of the most disgusting things I’ve read. YUCK!

  9. Attempting2Direct*

    This is the grossest thing I’ve read in a while and yet, I can’t wait for an update. You’ve got this OP

  10. Had to Comment*

    Apparently this is also a thing in the SNL offices. At least when Tina Fey started there, according to Bossypants. Although those guys apparently just left the cups sitting around their offices. So nasty!

    1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      I saw an interview with her recently where, apparently, some of those writers’ wives read Bossypants and were not pleased to discover how gross their husbands were at work.

      Serves them right.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        If you leave cups of pee around and the worst thing that happens to you is your wife finds out, you’ve come out of that situation better than you entirely deserve…

    2. MsChanandlerBong*

      I am pretty sure that’s where they got the idea for the episode of “30 Rock” in which Liz finds out Frank has been peeing in jars and leaving them around the office.

      1. LegalBeagle*

        Yes, it’s the Sun Tea episode if anyone needs more of this content in their lives.

    3. NW Mossy*

      I’ve heard the same about fraternity houses, and the ’90s call-in advice show Loveline did many a segment about peeing in sinks.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        Ugh! What’s wrong with these guts? How freaking hard is it to go into the bathroom?

        1. many bells down*

          And seriously, they’re PENIS-HAVERS. They can pee ANYWHERE. Why do they choose the grossest option possible?!

        2. MatKnifeNinja*

          I worked on an adult med/surg floor.

          Guys peed in the water containers, trash cans, sinks and the worse was the coffee carafes. The night stand drawers.

          These men weren’t looped out on pain meds. No dementia. No mobility issues /mobility restriction. Education/class status didn’t matter. I had a male pediatrician pee in one of those 20 oz foam water cups and left it on the tray table.

          I think the bonus round is the boss dumping it on the dishes while she’s washing them.

          You haven’t lived until dietary calls up screaming another patient puddled in the coffee carafe and sent it back down his the rest of his tray. It was never someone with dementia.

      2. Auntie Social*

        There’s a famous coach who does this. Dozens of bottles of urine under his desk. I hope when they recruited him to where he is now, he has his own private exec washroom. Because, eeewwww.

        1. Nicelutherangirl*

          Alfred Lambert, the patriarch in Jonathan Franzen’s 2001 novel “The Corrections”, peed in coffee cans that he just allowed to collect in his basement workshop, if I remember correctly. I think he had dementia related to the disease he died of at the end of the novel. It’s been too long since I read it. His golden boy oldest son Gary found the coffee cans and was grossed out, then he ended up falling into the same habit, justifying the practicality of it as he starts to show he was losing his own marbles. Just another dysfunctional All-American family, the Lamberts.

      3. Wendy Darling*

        In college I lived downstairs from the hardest-partying group of guys in my tiny liberal arts college. They threw drunken ragers 4-5 nights a week and one dude in particular could not be bothered to go inside from the balcony and go to the bathroom to pee when drunk and so just whipped it out and peed off the side of the balcony.

        I complained to literally everyone but no one would do anything because his grandfather was a senator. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It’s been 15+ years but as I recall we just never opened that window and used the air conditioning all the time, and moved to a different building the next year…

        1. AndrewA63*

          Nowadays, you’d just video it with your phone, maybe with some commentary about who the person is, post in on Liveleak (because hey!), then link it over via a throwaway account onto reddit – maybe r/whatcouldgowrong – or another similar one (or all, because why not). Done right, you could trend it to the front page, and maybe embarass the hell out of the poor, poor senator. For the lulz of course…

    4. Working Mom Having It All*

      I used to work in an artists’ studio space where the guys were all doing this. (The Tina Fey/SNL thing, not what’s happening in this post, which IMO is much, much grosser because HE POURED IT ALL OVER HER LUNCH DISHES WTFFFFFF) It was absolutely a misogynist display/power grossout thing. “If you can’t handle a gross artists’ studio maybe you don’t have what it takes etc etc etc”

      My guess was that this is the same thing, except some folks upthread have me sold on the mental decline thing or maybe the fetish idea.

      But for real though, that other men who were also behaving inappropriately (most likely in a deliberate show of excluding female colleagues) does not make this less disgusting or more appropriate.

    5. Shay*

      So the SNL offices have the same hygiene and social standards as frat houses and the freshman male dorms?

  11. CatCat*

    Why is it unlikely that whoever brings it up won’t get fired?

    I mean, I would have thought peeing in a cup in your office and then pouring that cup into the kitchen sink was pretty unlikely and yet here we are.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I mean, sure, you could also get fired for pointing out a conference room is on fire or there’s a bird flying into the CFO’s hair, but it’s not likely. And yes, this situation shows the boss doesn’t follow normal rules of behavior, but I’d still be surprised if someone got fired over telling him he needs to cut this out. Saying “this legitimately gross thing should stop” is just not a thing people would generally get fired for, even by the person doing the gross thing. Could happen, probably won’t.

    2. AnotherAnon*

      Even then, I feel like if there was ever a time for a successful wrongful termination lawsuit, this would be it. I can’t imagine that this isn’t a violation of some kind of statute somewhere… it is a public health issue when people’s eating utensils are KNOWINGLY being exposed to human waste.

        1. fposte*

          Yeah, unless it’s an industry where this would be specifically policed, it’s not illegal to pee in the sink directly on private property, let alone dump a cup in it.

          Though if they lease, the landlord might be less than thrilled. Or, who knows, they might just be realistic that this probably isn’t the first time.

          1. Septembergrrl*

            I mean, I’m sure as a human the landlord would be grossed out, but it’s not really a building health/safety issue as long as the urine goes into a drain. It’s really hard to get sick from incidental exposure to pee.

            Landlord might just be grateful the boss isn’t just letting loose in a stairwell.

            1. fposte*

              As I thought about it, I decided most landlords would either lean toward “Gross, I would rather not have known and I will pretend that I don’t” or “Sheesh, I was expecting something worse than this.”

              1. jDC*

                I’ll just say I’ve had to pee in the sink before at home. Husband was in our only bathroom and was violently sick and couldn’t move and i was about to explode. It was a traumatizing moment for us both. I did scrub out the bathroom sink though right away. It was pretty much that or the backyard and we have neighbors haha

                1. Iris Eyes*

                  Two toilets is one of my top asks for any living situation for just that kinda situation.

                2. SarahTheEntwife*

                  Yeah, I did that once when we had houseguests and I woke up and Desperately Had To Pee in that early-morning way but the guest was taking a shower and we were not close enough that I could really use the toilet while they were showering. But again, desperate emergency and much cleaning of the sink afterward.

        2. Vemasi*

          Could this possibly fall under being fired for reporting sexual harassment? Even if it turns out not to be purposeful sexual harassment, it could be reported as such in the first place.

          1. fposte*

            The thing is, even if it were to be a wrongful termination, that doesn’t always get you much. It doesn’t get you your job back, for instance, and it takes a long time for the legal gears to grind.

          2. Yorick*

            This isn’t sexual or gendered harassment. Maybe if all the women complain about it and then he targets them as a result? But otherwise it just isn’t. He’s pouring a gross cup of liquid out in front of people. He’s not showing his genitals or anything.

        3. blackcat*

          There are OSHA regulations around handling human waste, but I don’t think they would apply.

        4. Ace in the Hole*

          I might be wrong but I’m pretty sure peeing in the kitchen sink is an OSHA violation. It’s a violation to store food or have workers eat in toilet areas – if the boss is using the kitchen sink as his personal urinal that sounds awful close to a toilet area. If their work involves hazardous materials it’s also a requirement to provide sanitary eating areas separate from the work area.

          1. fposte*

            OSHA is more about what you provide to the workers structurally; not so much about the stray person spitting or peeing in the sink.

            1. Ace in the Hole*

              Yes, but this isn’t a stray person… it’s the owner. If the owner is doing it it is an organizational issue.

              1. fposte*

                Not in OSHA terms, no. It’s still a single person, not an organizational mandate.

        5. Burned Out Supervisor*

          Maybe it’s illegal if there’s some poor coworker that is witnessing the actual peeing and just not reporting it…

        6. Moxie*

          At least she would have a fantastic reason for leaving her last job. Though it would be awkward to talk about in a job interview.

          Would there be any way to collect unemployment after leaving a job like this?

      1. Important Moi*

        I work at a legally adjacent to the Teapot Industry.

        I would just like to share through the years I’ve had to tell many people that just because they think there should be “some kind of statute somewhere” for there specific issue that is often not the case. Rules/Laws/Codes are often reactive as opposed to proactive.

        1. Jamie*

          I am not a fan of being excessively regulatory but color me shocked that pouring it on her dishes wouldn’t violate some kind of ordinance.

          1. Kittymommy*

            I work in government and I can tell you that no one I work for/with has ever thought that it needed to be spelled out that a boss should not pour their urine on their employees dishes and/or them. Although now I really want to go see if we can do it!! :)

          2. Nessun*

            Agreed! It reminds me of the safety warnings you see, like “Do not insert hot curling iron into any orifice”, where you then immediately have to wonder – why they heck was that necessary?! The answer, sadly, is always ‘because someone did it, and then complained that no one told them they shouldn’t’.

            No one should have to ever write a rule/law/code/whatnot saying “don’t dispose of urine in the kitchen sink”, and yet here we are.

            1. Willow*

              Oooh, oooh, could they post an anonymous note above the sink? Alison looooves the use of anonymous notes! Or else, have everyone in the office sign it.

    1. Trek*

      I love this idea. I would submit to him in writing that we are aware of urine in the sink and cannot work with the smell and complete grossness of it. He stops immediately or they go public with their strike and see what happens to his business.

      1. EH*

        I am now imagining a picket line with signs like, “NO PEE IN OUR SINK” “URINE GOES IN TOILETS NOT IN CUPS” et al

    2. ToS*

      Raise it once to him, with a second person there. Ask to take a picture of what’s in the cup, as it might be of interest to HR or OSHA. Anyone who uses the kitchen has the right to red-card him on this play…and to hand it up the chain of command if Boss continues. HR can suss out if it’s an ADA thing, including cognitive decline. Accommodations can be moving him closer to the bathroom. Making sure there is a trashcan for Depends disposal.

      Other wrinkles – Has someone trashed the men’s room?

      HR might want to limit his kitchen access if this continues. Yes, call it out for the foul that it is.

  12. Kiki*

    Dear God. This is… beyond. If this happened once, I could imagine it being an extreme issue with incontinence that could be politely ignored the same way you would ignore a coworker accidentally peeing their pants one time. This needs to be addressed and you can feel safe that most everyone in the world agrees with you and would stare in utter disbelief at someone trying to justify this behavior.

    1. WellRed*

      Even if it’s an incontinence issue, that doesn’t explain or excuse the dumping it on dishes in front of people.

      1. Kiki*

        The kitchen sink part does really make it beyond the pale no matter what the reason, but if it were just once in the sink (not on coworker’s dishes or while coworkers are right there!) I could see it being done in panic? Like, “Dear God, I have this cup of urine, I must get rid of it as quickly as possible!”
        Not acceptable and needs to stop regardless of the reason! And this is definitely habitual, not a terrifying one-off, so this is not the situation at all.

  13. Heidi*

    I could have happily lived my whole life not knowing this. This might be the only time I’d consider doing an intervention for a boss.

  14. Just In Case*

    Could it be possible that it’s apple cider vinegar? Maybe he uses it for tooth rinsing or something, and dumps it out when he’s done. I would like to believe it’s apple cider vinegar, at least.

    1. Mel*

      If it’s apple cider vinegar…I mean, it’s not, that’s the wrong color and doesn’t smell like pee, but if it is… he’ll say so and produce the bottle of it at once. But there’s no way.

      1. The Original K.*

        Right. I use ACV diluted with water as a hair rinse (it’s awesome). ACV has a strong smell but it doesn’t smell like urine.

    2. Cath*

      Apple cider vinegar smells nothing like urine. And unless he has serious dehydration, doesn’t look like it either.

    3. Skeptic*

      Nah. Apple cider vinegar is brown. If his pee was brown and smelled like vinegar, I would still look for another job because he’s probably gonna die from kidney failure or something.

      1. autechre*

        My Braggs ACV is definitely not brown. Maybe not a tone mistakable for urine, but it’s on the yellow side, especially when diluted.

    4. ResuMAYDAY*

      While I doubt it’s apple cider vinegar, you do have a point. An acquaintance of mine rinses her hair with apple cider vinegar and frankly, she smells like urine. I hugged her once and it was pungent. Now I just tell her that I’m not a hugger.

      1. The Original K.*

        Huh! I rinse mine with ACV. Not every wash, just when I feel like my hair has product build-up. I don’t get complaints about how my hair smells. I dilute it: 1T ACV and 3T water in a spray bottle. I shampoo my hair, spray the AVC mixture on it, leave it for about 5 minutes, rinse with water, and then condition and style (which involves products) as usual. My hair smells like my styling products (which have sweet scents; the last thing I use is an oil that smells like roses). I wonder what your friend’s process is?

      2. Just In Case*

        I’m also in denial that anyone would dare be this gross and trying to come up with the logical option, which might not be the case at all here!

      3. Lana Kane*

        I’m just going to put it out there – hopefully this isn’t your friend’s case – that there are online groups out there that espouse using urine for…health benefits.

    5. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

      Right? I’m just…desperate for it to be something other than urine. Apple cider vinegar? Beer? Rancid lemonade? Anything is better than urine.

  15. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius*

    I need to go lie down for 45 minutes. No, an hour. A FULL HOUR.

    1. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius*

      In all seriousness though, the ONLY explanation I can think of is that maybe he’s an ultra-environmentalist who never flushes the toilet to pee, and this is how it’s manifested somehow? Even if this is true, he needs to keep it at home. He crossed a line eons ago. Holy cow.

      1. Mazzy*

        Or someone with a prostate or other problem that is very serious and they got tired of constant bathroom trips

        1. ResuMAYDAY*

          Mazzy, you might be right! This is what Depends are for, so how does the staff steer him in that direction? It’s so unfair of the boss to heap this problem on his staff.
          OP, if you can handle this, you can handle ANYTHING.

        2. Observer*

          Nope. Because he would at least use the bathroom. This is NOT even close to a reasonable way to behave, even with all the squinting and contorting you can come up with!

        3. Willow*

          I take a diuretic every few days, and it makes me pee about 15 times in 4 hours. And I still manage to haul my butt down to the bathroom. Every.single.time. I look at it as getting my steps in for the day.

      2. Zombeyonce*

        He doesn’t need to pour it in the kitchen sink to save water! He could pour it in a toilet in the bathroom, even at work (though, still gross to walk around w/a cup of your pee).

      3. Meredith*

        I’m pretty sure Alison has already talked about how “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” is not appropriate work behavior!

  16. saby*

    Is it possible the boss is using a catheter or something and just hasn’t realized that this is Not The Way One Empties One’s Pee Bag?? I am looking for any possible reason here…

    1. MedSurg*

      If he has mobility issues it seems not that insane that he would choose to use an intermittent cath in his private office than try to hover over a public urinal. I still cant think of a reason he’d dump it in the kitchen sink though.

      1. Ennigaldi*

        The only explanation I can come up with, and that’s being very generous, is that he does have some dementia developing and incontinence issues, in which case the message this is in no way acceptable needs to be delivered without publicly humiliating him. But they still need to speak up. And then insist he go to the local pharmacy, buy one of the urine cups with a handle and a top, and empty it in the bathroom like a human.

        1. Slartibartfast*

          The office should buy him one for Boss’s Day. I know gifts shouldn’t flow up, but I think we can make an exception.

          I could also see the toilet being too far down for someone with back issues to bend down, but I think it’s safe to assume there’s a working sink in the bathroom.

      2. Peachywithasideofkeen*

        Yeah, that is the part that boggles me too. If he can walk to the kitchen sink to dump it out, surely he could also walk to the bathroom to dump it?

    2. Ben Thair*

      This! You say he is 70. It is highly probable that it is a catheter and that is why family member did not say something. At least I hope that is it.

      1. Observer*

        As others have pointed out, that doesn’t explain the kitchen sink. And if it WAS a catheter that family members are aware of, they should have let people know that, at least.

        1. UKDancer*

          Agreed. My grandfather had a permanent catheter fitted for nearly 5 years and he would not have dreamed of emptying it in the kitchen sink even when he was in his 90s. That’s just unnecessarily gross. If the boss had to empty the catheter into a cup he can just as well carry it to the toilet as to the kitchen. Goodness knows my grandfather did.

      2. Quandong*

        One of my ex-BFs developed a medical condition at the age of 42 and required the use of a catheter (which type of catheter and what condition are not relevant here).

        IF (and it’s a big IF) the OP’s boss is having problems managing his catheter and urine bag, there are a lot of alternative actions available to him. And he would have been instructed clearly and repeatedly how to dispose of the contents of a urine collection bag!

        There is no reasonable excuse for the OP’s boss to dispose of bodily fluids in a kitchen sink. Use of a catheter in no way explains this foul behaviour. Something else is at play here.

    3. MistOrMister*

      Yep, my first thought was that he might have a catheter. And if he has a more or less permanentt catheter let me just say, that poor man!! I had one for a week post surgery and it was just godawful!!! I am not excusing him in any way as what he is doing is completelt beyond the pale. But I will say that, in my case, the catheter severely limitd my mobility. You can only move so fast with one of those things. So the only thing I can think in this situation is the boss has a catheter and is emptying it at his desk then dumping it in the kitchen so he can limit his movement and discomfort.

      That being said, in no world is this ok. And the fact that he dumped his pee onto someone’s dishes makes me think there is something more going on with the guy. It is odd to me that the male workers aren’t also grossed out by this. Being family members you would think they are perfectly situated to be able to tell him to stop!!

    1. fposte*

      It’s not likely to be an OSHA violation. OSHA doesn’t really deal that much with outlier behavior; it more sets standards for regular workplace expectations. If the office required everybody to dump pee cups in the sink because they had no toilet, *that* would probably be an OSHA violation.

      1. Jamie*

        I was thinking OSHA because it does have rules for cleaning blood borne pathogens but I don’t see anything that specifically covers this on a cursory search.

        IMO if it’s not, it should be covered as a concern of transmitting hepatitis. I would think it could possibly be covered under the OSHA worker rights item

        Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.

        but could be a stretch depending on the interpretation.

        1. fposte*

          Even the bloodborne pathogens rules are for industries where that’s a regular thing. They really don’t come down and police the cleanup of bandaids in an office.

          1. Jamie*

            True when it comes to the small stuff, but not major accidents.

            I’m in manufacturing and while accidents are certainly not a regular thing I have been present when fingers have been lost and once for a degloving which produces massive amounts of blood.

            We absolutely clean based on OSHA blood borne pathogen rules and document it for the OSHA report. Tbh I would anyway – because seeing people traipse through blood and walk it through the plant and office before it cordoned off is vomit inducing (for me) so I get bossy and demand protocol be followed.

            1. fposte*

              Right, but you’re in manufacturing. That’s OSHA’s main area. Plenty of businesses mop stuff up with bleach and move on.

            2. doreen*

              Lost fingers and degloving are hopefully not a regular thing anywhere- but the OSHA standard for bloodborne pathogens applies where employees can be reasonably anticipated to contact blood or other potentially infectious materials and involves more than cleaning procedures. It doesn’t apply to every workplace – OSHA isn’t going to crack down on a law office that didn’t have biohazard bags when cleaning up after a nosebleed.

    2. Kate R*

      This is where my brain went. I would tell him it was an OSHA violation even if it’s wasn’t, but maybe this is close enough.

      Eating and drinking areas. No employee shall be allowed to consume food or beverages in a toilet room nor in any area exposed to a toxic material.”

      1. ResuMAYDAY*

        “Boss, you’ve turned our kitchen into your toilet, so you need to provide us with a new kitchen.”

    3. Augusta Sugarbean*

      A quick look at my state’s OSHA brochure says “you have the right to a safe, healthful place to work.” I think this is a really good approach, Call of Dewey. They’d be my first call.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This isn’t likely to be an OSHA violation. This is one of those things where it’s so outrageous one assumes it must violate some law, but it’s really unlikely that it does. It’s not OSHA, in any case.

      1. Librarian of SHIELD*

        This is more the kind of thing that’s so outrageous that nobody thought they’d ever need to pass workplace regulations about it. Like, if I were ever to get a new job where orientation included a talk about how, in this workplace, we never, never, EVER keep urine in cups and pour it out in the kitchen sink, I would be wondering HARD about what had previously occurred to make that rule necessary.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          To quote a friend… “You just know this is a law that has someone’s name on it.”

        2. Meredith*

          Duh, obviously the answer is someone kept urine in cups and poured it out in the kitchen sink! The real question is, what would the consequences of violating the rule be? They need to put some teeth behind that, or people may try to press their luck. ;)

      2. Lana Kane*

        What if they call OSHA and they can say whether there’s other recourse? Is that something they could do?

        1. fposte*

          Maybe, if there’s an obvious other agency for recourse or if that’s a standard template they use. I doubt they’d have state and municipal details on hand to be a reliable referrer to specific orgs in grey area cases like this, but who knows?

      3. Slartibartfast*

        I have worked in many places that had a dedicated poop/pee sink. (Ahh medical jobs.) AFAIK, not an OSHA requirement, just common sense and company requirements. None of those sinks were in or near a kitchen. Daycares require separate sinks for diaper areas and food prep, but I think that’s licensing not OSHA. You might be able to quit and still get unemployment, not guaranteed but having someone dump urine on your dishes on purpose would be a strong argument to use in your unemployment hearing.

      4. AndrewA63*

        But could OSHA maybe refer you to a state or other department which would have jurisdiction over it? I mean, I don’t know if such a thing exists, but one would think it would almost have to.

        Adult protective services, maybe?

        “Hello, APS, I need some assistance…for myself…yes…because my boss is peeing in a cup and dumped it on my dishes in the kitchen. Hello? Hello?”

  17. AvidReader31*

    If this is real, this is beyond foul. You all need to speak up immediately. Additionally, this may be indicative of your boss having an undiagnosed neurological issue, particularly if this is a relatively new thing he is doing. Please speak up, NO ONE should be subjected to this. And if you are worried about being fired, I say look to collect unemployment, and then look into an attorney to sue the crap out of him if he chooses to fire you because you are against him peeing in a cup and dumping it in the kitchen sink. No job is worth this!

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Yeah, that was going to be my question – did he just start doing this, or has he always been doing this? If it’s a new development, I’d be bringing this up to his kids that work there because something’s wrong with their dad and maybe they could figure out what the issue is so he can stop dumping his pee in the sink. But if it’s an issue that’s been going on for years, dude might just be nasty.

    1. Willow*

      Right? PLEASE let it be some sort of violation. Other than a violation of human decency.

  18. Karo*

    I saw Alison post on Twitter that this letter was coming, so I thought I was prepared. I was not. It’s all disgusting, but dumping it on top of your dishes? I’d have to throw them away.

    1. The Original K.*

      Ditto re: Twitter. Whenever Alison teases a shocking letter on Twitter, I feel like I’m prepared and then the real letter is always worse than I imagined!

  19. I mean seriously folks*

    This is so gross I’m mad I even READ it, I can’t imagine dealing with it. Get all your coworkers to create a chorus of “oh my god, EWW!”s at him next time!

  20. Bend & Snap*

    I read the headline and yelled “OH MY GOD!”

    Then the rest of the letter was worse.

    Oh my God.

    1. MistOrMister*

      I read the headline and just froze with my burrito in my mouth mid-bite and goggled at the screen for a minute before I could move!!!

  21. Spek*

    After surgery a few years ago while recovering from surgery, when I would use my stomach and leg muscles in the act of standing up, I would spontaneously “leak” a little, so maybe there is a medical reason? He is in his 70’s. Prostate trouble maybe. But still no excuse for how he’s handling it. He needs to buy one of those capped portable urinals sold at every drugstore and dispose of it immediately and properly in the bathroom. Even then, still kinda gross to wash out the urinal in the bathroom sink where people wash their face and sometime brush their teeth, but still infinitely better than a kitchen sink.

    1. Another Anon*

      Yeah, not making excuses cause this behavior is disgusting, but my father is 70, with kidney disease, and neuropathy caused incontinence, he keeps a pitcher next to his bed because it’s safer than him trying to walk to the bathroom at night (he is prone to falling and is recovering from a broken leg), so I think it’s likely that there is some sort of medical reason that he may not be able to always make it to the restroom. So I feel for OPs boss and family, it’s really hard to get old, but it absolutely does not excuse his behavior!
      When my dads mobility and health issues became more problematic, he retired (luckily he’s a vet with good health insurance and my mom is incredibly healthy and still able to work), he didn’t pee in cups at work and dump them on people’s belongings!

      1. Yvette*

        And I am sure your father (or someone) did not dump that pitcher into the kitchen sink. I can sort of understand the peeing in the cup, but I cannot understand dumping it in the kitchen sink. If he can walk it to the break room he can *#$%#@%$$ walk it to the bathroom.

        1. EddieSherbert*

          “If he can walk it to the break room he can *#$%#@%$$ walk it to the bathroom.”

          YESSSSSSSS. Even if the cup thing ‘has’ to happen – pouring it in the kitchen sink does not!

    2. Working Mom Having It All*

      I have a childbirth related injury that causes me to leak a little, sometimes. Firstly, the volume (even in really bad instances) is not enough to fill a cup. If you could even get it into a cup? I’m not sure how that part would work. Secondly, when I think it’s more likely to happen, for example if I have a cold, I wear a pad. Immediately after my son was born, when the injury was fresh, I had to wear depends because I had no bladder control at all. There are also other things that can help like going to the bathroom ASAP and never holding it, not lifting heavy items, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly.

      In no way have I *ever* expected other people to put up with anything like a cup of my urine because of this persistent injury. It’s my problem to deal with in a way that is sanitary, safe, and kind to other people.

  22. Quickbeam*

    I’m a nurse, an outdoor enthusiast and worked with over the road truckers for a long time. Men will pee anywhere. I did not know that before nursing and working with truckers. Also at 70, he may have a prostate as big a a grapefruit. That said, even though I’ve seen this before, his behavior is disgusting. I’d be at the head of the line saying loudly: “Is that PEE? Take it into the bathroom”. Repeat. I think public shaming is the only way to go.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      My dad is a truck driver in the OP’s boss’s age bracket with an enlarged prostate, and while I expect he may use bottles on the road, he is civilized around others. He was also raised in the country, with an outhouse, as one of 5 brothers. Yet no one has to tell him to pee in a toilet. Men don’t have to be gross.

      1. Observer*

        Thanks for pointing that out.

        “Men are just gross” is a really unhelpful framing.

    2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I can handle peeing in a cup. I could deal with pouring it into the empty sink and immediately cleaning the sink, maybe. It’s the pouring it over the dishes that gets me.

  23. Snarkus Aurelius*

    When a friend of mine was in public, she used to take her seven year old son to the women’s restroom with her (!!), have her kid pee in a cup, and then dump it in the toilet.

    She asked us if this was normal. We were like “no.”

    So I totally believe this story.

    1. aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh*

      idk about the rest of it but imo a 7yo boy in the women’s room is really no big deal?

      1. atalanta0jess*

        yeah, I don’t think this is weird at all. Depending on the setting and the kid, it may be the only safe option.

      2. WellRed*

        Is it’s weird because she has her kid pee in a cup. Why not just …pee in the toilet?

      3. Fortitude Jones*

        Yeah, this was a normal thing for moms to do when I was growing up when they were out alone with their young sons – they didn’t want to send them alone into a men’s room in case there were creeps in there, so they took them into the ladies. No one batted an eyelash.

        The only part that’s weird is having him pee in a cup – take him into a stall and let him pee in the actual toilet! And if he’s too short to reach like my brother once was, my mom would lift him up so he could pee in the bowl.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            We don’t sit on public restroom toilets – too many germs, and we all have OCD. Not happening.

          2. atalanta0jess*

            It’s also really really hard for a tiny butt to sit on a big toilet seat.

            1. Fortitude Jones*

              My niece almost fell in my mom’s toilet the first time she used it until my mom got one of those seat covers for kids. I don’t know if they were around when we were little – I don’t remember them, nor would my mom have been carrying them around in case we had to go in public.

            2. jenkins*

              Not too hard for most seven year olds – my small-for-his-age three year old does it.

      4. Kiki*

        Yeah, seven is still young enough to want to make sure your kid is supervised in the restroom depending on location and child ( for stranger danger concerns and just making sure your kid isn’t making a mess/ causing a ruckus). And especially in women’s restrooms where everyone is in stalls, there isn’t anything untoward the kid would be seeing.

        Cup part is odd? I’m hoping the cup was disposed of or used exclusively for this purpose?

    2. NW Mossy*

      You know how sometimes someone tells you an outlandish story and you get fixated on some small aspect of it as a means of trying to process it? That’s where I am with trying to understand how and why there’s a cup involved here at all, when there’s a perfectly good toilet available!

      1. atalanta0jess*

        I wonder if it’s the sort of thing you start at one age (like, it’s hard for little shorties to pee into the toilet) and then just kept doing way beyond where it made sense. That’s the only thing I can come up with.

    3. Narise*

      I was behind a lady in a drive through once and she pulled her kid out of the car, maybe 3 years old, and let him pee in the driveway! I knew the manager so I called her from my cell and they spoke to the woman at the window about a complaint they received about her son peeing in their driveway. She ended up driving away without her food and without paying.

      1. Jennifer*

        He was probably potty training. I’d cut a kid that young a little slack. At that age, when they tell you they have to go, you have maybe five seconds to get them to a toilet.

        1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

          If he cannot hold it long enough to get to a restroom in public, he is not potty trained. He should be in a diaper, or stay home, not be out in public places piddling everywhere like a puppy.

          1. Jennifer*

            That’s why I said he’s potty training, as in – in the process of potty training. I remember a few times when my mom was training my baby brother that we had to pull over on the side of the road. Parents of toddlers occasionally have to go outside. Toddlers occasionally have potty accidents. That’s life. I think it was pretty unkind to call management about it.

            1. Narise*

              They peed in a drive through not on the side of the road and there were bathrooms inside. It wasn’t unkind at all. If someone was peeing in your drive way I’m sure you’d want someone to tell you.

              1. Jennifer*

                An adult, yes. A toddler, meh. My niece had an accident out there when she was around the same age. It seemed rather petty to me, but I don’t think we’ll agree.

                1. VictorianCowgirl*

                  I’m with you on this one. Hills to die on and all that. Toddlers pee, like, 1/4 cup of fluid.

          2. ChimericalOne*

            Agreed. If she’s in the drive-thru with him, a toilet is just inside the building & could’ve been reached easily within a minute or two (all she had to do was pull out of line, park, and run in with him — the restaurant would’ve been happy to hand her her food inside). If he can’t wait two literal minutes, he’s not potty-trained and needs to be in diapers.

            Or, conversely, she needs to be prepared to deal with complaints.

              1. Vemasi*

                Isn’t that what training pants are for? To transition from diapers until there are no more accidents?

              2. Observer*

                Still not acceptable. You really, really need to plan your activities around this. Also, it IS possible to potty train a kid while choosing to strategically use diapers. BTDT with several children of my own and now watching my grandkids.

            1. Curious*

              I don’t know what the drive thru lines are like near you, but the one I use most frequently cannot be pulled out of once you are in it. There’s a space about 8 car lengths where you are stuck, even if you have decided the line is moving so slowly you no longer want to order coffee, and even if you suddenly have a bathroom emergency.

              1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

                I have never seen a drive through that wasn’t demarcated by big concrete blocks or similar. You can drive over them if you have a big truck, I guess.

                I don’t think peeing outside, especially if it’s a small kid, is a big deal myself. If it happens all the time, maybe, but it dries up and gets washed away by the rain eventually. A one off toilet emergency does not seem complaint worthy to me.

                Also, what is weird about taking a seven year old into the bathroom with his mother? That still seems like an age that requires supervision to me, and not because of predators. I’d want to stop them from wandering off.

        2. Librarian of SHIELD*

          When my cousin was potty training, my aunt kept a potty chair in the car for emergencies. If he couldn’t hold it until they got where they were going, he used the emergency potty, which they emptied when they got home.

          1. Hills to Die on*

            Yep – they make travel chairs with diaper stuff that absorbs the pee really fast in the bottom of a plastic bag. Pull over, set up chair, let Junior do their thing, tie bag, Junior gets strapped back into car seat, and life goes on.

      2. CML*

        Not a lot of compassion in that reaction. I’m currently potting training my almost 3 yo son and yeah, I’d cut this mom some slack because you seriously have no time to find a toilet when they say they have to go. They’re still learning how to acknowledge they have to go potty before they actually go. No one knows what else that mom is dealing with in that moment and some graciousness goes a long way.

        1. Jennifer*

          Exactly. I’m not even a parent but have been there with my niece. And keeping them in diapers negates the point of potty training.

          1. CML*

            Life would be so much easier if I left my son in diapers. Seriously. Potty training is a pain in the a**. I don’t know if I would have made the same decision as this mom and I might have told my son that if he couldn’t wait a few minutes, he’d have to sit in wet pants and a wet car seat. But back to my first statement, I have no idea what she was dealing with and it seems overreactive to call management.

        2. StaceyIzMe*

          It seems to come down to this- if the kid has to go and there’s no alternative, then it’s the car that gets to be cleaned. There’s no reason to pee in an area where people are handling food. That’s kind of right up there with changing your kid’s diaper in the dining area or on the adjacent airline seat. It’s understandable that there’s not a convenient alternative. But that doesn’t mean that it’s actually okay to do that. It’s disheartening that not all planes have changing tables in the lavatories and many parents wind up having to use the closed commode surface padded with tissues or disposable covers (or even do a standing diaper change). But going wee near where food is handled and served isn’t a good look and may be illegal.

          1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

            Outside in the driveway though? That is pretty far removed from the food preparation.

          2. Three Strikes*

            You’re just…wrong.

            The answer is to have the kid pee in the car? No, it’s not.

            The drive through line in the parking lot constitutes a sanitary food handling area? No, it doesn’t.

            It’s wrong to change a kids diaper in public when there’s no viable alternative? Once again, nope.

        3. Risha*

          Right. I’m not a parent either but this seems entirely like something that’s likely to happen once in a while. Sometimes toddlers don’t have the bladder control for even a couple of minutes delay.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        One reason I left NYC. Right outside a store known for public restrooms, a mom with a kid peeing off the curb.
        “You know they let tourists use the bathrooms in there, right?”

      4. Needaname*

        I think that was uncool of you! Sh*t happens with kids. She was probably really stressed, forced to choose between kid peeing on car seat or outside, and an outside driveway has seen way more gross stuff than a toddler’s pee. So she takes a chance, rushes to get it done before the drive through queue moves along, and then finally reaches the front only to find someone behind her was watching and took time out of their day to complain. A pointless complaint too, because what can be done now. Bet she drove off hungry and humiliated and cried. Next time why not try placing yourself in her shoes.

    4. MsSolo*

      I mean, depending on the kid, at seven they might still need adult supervision (and depending on the public restroom, you might not be comfortable with them going in alone), but I really don’t get the cup bit. Like, you’re already in there, why not take them into a cubicle and use it as it was intended?

    5. Jennifer*

      Honestly, this story very much pales in comparison to the OP. As long as urine is going where it belongs ultimately, the toilet, and I don’t have to deal with it or see it, I don’t care what they do in the stall. And a little boy in the ladies’ room is not a big deal. I see it all the time.

    6. Polymer Phil*

      AAM has had so many helicopter parent stories recently that I half-expect to see teenagers getting subjected to this soon!

      1. Cat Fan*

        A woman taking her seven-year-old son into the bathroom with her is not helicopter parenting.

        1. Jamie*

          Exactly. If they were out without another adult what was her option? Can’t leave him alone outside or in the men’s room at that age – I have two sons and at that age they saw the inside of plenty of women’s bathrooms.

        2. Polymer Phil*

          To clarify, my comment was about the letter published earlier this morning about parents of adult children calling up a hiring manager and trying to meddle. Taking a 7-year-old into the women’s room is OK, but not much older than that.

      2. Lana Kane*

        I sometimes bring my 7 year old to the ladies room with me. It’s totally dependent on the place. For example, the Target in the downtown area of my city gets *a lot* of traffic, and I’m not comfortable sending him in there alone just yet. I also don’t bat an eyelash at boys of that age in the ladies room accompanied by their moms. 7 is an age that may seem “too old” to some, but I think it’s right on the line between being able to go solo in certain places, and being concerned that he is still susceptible to any inappropriateness.

    7. CaliCali*

      The cup part is the only weird thing about this. Depending on the venue, I may take my 7-year-old son into the restroom with me, simply because he’s too little to be left unattended outside the restroom (if it’s just me and him at, say, a baseball game, I’m not leaving him outside while I do my business).

    8. AnotherAlison*

      Mom of two grown boys here. The cup is weird, but I wonder if the mom thinks she’s being courteous by not letting him spray the seat. Taking the kid into the women’s room is totally normal. The age limit probably depends on the kid and the public place. It would not be allowed at say, the gym. They require you to use the family locker room for opposite gender kids over age 2. As someone else noted, definitely going to happen at an MLB baseball game. Sometimes, my husband would even make me take the boys to the women’s room when he was with me because they were too short for the urinals and the men’s toilets were untouchable.

      1. Kimmybear*

        My neighborhood recreation center has 7 as the cutoff for opposite sex children in the locker rooms but maybe that’s because there is only one family changing room.

    9. pleaset*

      Seven is a little old for this, for average kids. But perhaps he was developing slowly.

      I am not very disturbed by this – the cup part is odd but not disturbing to me.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        It has nothing to do with the development of the child, rather parents not wanting their underaged, small, and defenseless children to be in a restroom surrounded by grown men by themselves. The cup thing I don’t get, though.

        1. Akcipitrokulo*

          Migjt be avoiding splashes out of courtesy to other users? I dunno. Anyway, not seeing anything too weird as long as cup was used for that purpose only.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Honestly it depends on the location. Smalltown USA restaurant with one entrance, sure that’s a good place to let a 7yo demonstrate independence. But not in a BigCity, especially a location with two exits, or in a “happy hour” time of day.

      3. Observer*

        Totally not too old. This has nothing to do with development per se and everything to do with reasonable oversight of young children.

    10. Observer*

      Why are you so bent out of shape that she took her 7yo into the women’s bathroom? She’d have to be nuts to send him into the men’s bathroom by himself.

      The cup thing is weird, though.

  24. sam*

    I saw your preview tweet the other day, and yet this is SO MUCH WORSE.

    The only other thing I’m wondering is, given his age, if he has some sort of medical/catheter/ostomy situation, which does not excuse this specific behavior AT ALL, but if he doesn’t realize that EVEN IF YOU’RE EMPTYING AN OSTOMY BAG, YOU NEED TO DO IT IN THE NORMAL PLACE FOR BATHROOM THINGS.

    Sorry for the shouting, but I feel this deserves some shouting.

    (my dad had bladder cancer and a catheter/ostomy situation for a little while (he’s fully recovered now), and while we all became a bit too familiar with some stuff due to the medical issues (and he was my dad, not my BOSS), he did not lose his ability to understand that urine, you know, belonged in the bathroom.)

  25. Allison*

    This reminds me of that fake commercial on SNL for small toilets that look like regular office supplies (but comically large) that you can poop in, so you can do your business in your office and not have to walk all the way to the bathroom.

    Does OP’s boss just fancy himself SO busy that he can’t go to the bathroom, and SO important that he gets to do something most people consider taboo and gross? I really wonder if this is some weird power move.

  26. MusicWithRocksInIt*

    Ignoring the incredibly obvious here – I do want to point out that an office where it is all woman except for men that are related to the owner sounds toxic. I’ve worked at a place set up like that before and if you dug deep into the owners thought process there was a lot of sexist ideas about pay and raises and how we were treated. So honestly I feel like you should be looking for another job anyway. He thinks he can do as he pleases and treat you exactly as he likes because you are woman. Move on.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Thank you, yes. I feel like Pee Cup is likely not the only gross thing happening here.

  27. seriousmoonlight*

    Wouldn’t this be a health and safety issue? Surely they could report him somewhere?

  28. aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh*

    if there are men in the office who are related to them, i think that’s actually a perfect way to bring it up, with the framing of “i am telling you this because this is so not normal that i am worried for his mental health. i think he maybe needs to see a doctor about his cognition, etc.” because it IS that weird. good luck :\

    1. Kiki*

      I would address it with the boss first like Alison suggests. He should be aware that this is deeply gross even if people don’t know what he’s pouring, but there is some possibility he is somehow unaware that everyone knows he’s dumping pee in the sink. Especially since he’s older, he may not realize that the odor is giving it away.

      But I think talking to his relatives who work at the company like you say is definitely worthwhile if boss continues this behavior after you bring it up to him directly.

  29. sheworkshardforthemoney*

    “I had to quit my job because my boss dumps his urine in the sink onto the dishes.” is a reasonable explanation when asked why you quit.

  30. Don't Be Silly*

    ……. I would be unable not to make very loud vomiting sounds every time I passed him.

    The urine is bad enough but you cant pee in a cup without whipping your penis out in a place that isnt a bathroom. I genuinely don’t have the right words …

  31. Doctor What*

    Whoa…just whoa!

    Everything Alison said about the situation, and I’m also going to say, maybe this is some crazy Alpha Male show of power thing? Literally, peeing on his territory? I know that might sound crazy, but so is his behavor!

  32. Anonymous Poster*

    That is vile.

    I’ve seen a poo-poo-Picasso and boogers on the bathroom dividers. I’ve never heard of this.

    OP, be clear and direct:
    “Don’t dump that there, we plan on eating off of those plates again!”
    “Ew, why is that here? What’s wrong with the restroom?”
    “That’s so gross! Please take care of that in the restroom!”

    Rinse (with lots and lots of soap) and repeat as necessary. If there’s any pushback whatsoever, if possible, go up the management chain. This is so out of the pale that I’d bet if anyone higher up (if such exists) knew about it, they’d want to put a stop to it immediately.

    I wonder with such bizarre, out of the norm behavior though, if there are other issues that might be popping up too. Would it, perhaps, be time to start job searching?

    1. Anonymous Poster*

      I missed that this gentleman is the owner.

      Still, he sounds like he’s mentally on the level otherwise. Being understandably and audibly grossed out should work.

      Regardless of why it’s happening, it can be taken care of in the restroom, not the kitchen.

  33. Utoh!*

    How long has this been happening? Even if someone cannot speak to him directly, speak to one of his family members to let them know this is happening. I would even go so far as to call the Health department to get someone in there to so some testing in the kitchen where urine is being disposed of. I could not even image someone doing this, and could even imagine less someone not SAYING anything about it! Does this man have meetings and deal with customers, I mean, if he’s urinating into a cup, in his office, I’m sure he’s not washing his hands either! Completely disgusting and the reason why I tend to avoid shaking hands or run right to the bathroom to wash mine as soon as I can.

  34. agnes*

    This is so outrageous that I can only think the man is suffering from dementia. God as awful as it is to say, I hope he is, because otherwise he is just plain gross.

    1. Akcipitrokulo*

      That was my thought. In 70s, doing weird stuff with pee raises alarms in my head.

      If they can talk to family members also at firm?

  35. starsaphire*

    *incoherent screaming*

    I… can you quit? Like, all of you? Because, oh my GOD.

    I don’t think this problem is fixable. I hope for your sake it is, but…

  36. Jennifer*

    Has anyone read Bossypants by Tina Fey? When she first started at SNL, the formerly all-male writers’ room had jugs of pee sitting on the shelves because the guys didn’t want to break their creative flow (pun intended) and go to the bathroom. When she became head writer, she put a stop to it. Sad that you’d have to tell grown men that.

    Since you aren’t Tina Fey, I agree with Alison’s suggestion. Every time you see him do it. Every time you see urine on his desk. Every time you see him carrying it to the kitchen. Say something. Get as many other women to speak up with you. I have a sneaking suspicion this will not work, simply because someone who would dump urine over your lunch dishes is likely incapable of shame. But it’s worth a try. Considering the details, it’s your only recourse.

    1. Boss Those Pants*

      I haven’t read Bossypants, so this may be a silly question, but how long did she have to put up with the urine jugs BEFORE she became Head Writer?!?!?

      1. Jennifer*

        I didn’t remember from the book but according to google, she was hired as a writer in 1997 and was promoted to head writer in 1999.

        1. Mimi Me*

          Yes, I was thinking of that as I read this letter. They also wiped stuff on the walls and it was just painted over. Ewww! She actually wrote the jars of pee into 30 Rock. Frank had jars of “Sun Tea” which he was using to water plants outside of his office window.

          1. Jennifer*

            Ha! I remember that episode. Sorry, but gender matters here. I’ve never heard of an all-female office doing that.

    2. atalanta0jess*

      As many other PEOPLE to speak up with you! This is gross regardless of your gender, isn’t it?!

      1. Jennifer*

        No need for the exclamation points or the #notallmen. She said in the letter that all the other men in the office are related to him. They don’t seem to care. It was reported to them before and nothing happened. He has done it in the break room in front of all the women. Gender DOES make a difference here.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Ew, I missed that this was reported to the family before – that makes it even worse. Either they didn’t say anything to dear old dad, or they did, and he just didn’t care and kept doing it. Ugh, sorry OP – you have my sympathy. This is extremely disgusting (and I would have tossed those dishes right in the trash, dishwashing liquid be damned).

        2. atalanta0jess*

          Sorry, I’m just exclamation-pointy, I didn’t mean to imply not all men. I’m just! an enthusiastic! person!

          I missed that they’d already been made aware, so your comment seemed to unnecessarily call out women as the only potential allies.

    3. Booksalot*

      If urinating interferes with your creativity, you need either a urologist or a psychiatrist. Nobody’s muse is that precious.

        1. Remedial Chaos Theory*

          Heck, this is what smartphones are for. Quick text or voice recording, then run to the bathroom.

          1. JoAnna*

            Well, to be fair, this was apparently in the late 90s before smartphones were really a thing. But then, bring a small notepad and pen with you to the bathroom, or a small tape recorder. there are lots of solutions that don’t involve peeing in a jug and then leaving the jug on display.

            1. Remedial Chaos Theory*

              Literally anything is better than “pee in a jug at your desk”.

          2. Environmental Compliance*

            Hell, take the damn phone with you and type it while sitting to pee if it’s that damn important and your memory is that poor that you can’t wait 5 minutes. Jeez. I would rather you need to sanitize your phone than pee in a cup (!!) and dump it into a *kitchen* sink (!!!!!!!!!).

    4. Working Mom Having It All*

      It’s not because they didn’t want to break their creative flow. They’re literally marking their territory as being only for gross immature man-babies.

  37. Laura*

    If you want to be prepared for the worst, you could attempt to test the liquid in the cup at a lab to see if it is urine. You could film him dumping the cup and have it ready to send to local press, or release on social media, if you think he may fire you unfairly. This has got to be some kind of health code violation, as others have said. And if he is so “respected,” but you think he would retaliate at requests to stop, then he needs to have his public reputation reconsidered. That all the other males in the office are related to him and are unwilling to question him, and cannot be trusted to help with this issue, points to some other dysfunction at this workplace.

    1. Jennifer*

      Recording it and sending it to the local news might be a good idea.

      I don’t know if they need to have it tested.

      1. fposte*

        I don’t think that works as well as people hope; it’s not that great of a story unless the OP works at a restaurant or supermarket, and if the OP’s name is attached, prospective employers are going to be wary of an employee who filmed her boss and sent it to the news.

        1. Jennifer*

          She’d definitely have to do it anonymously. But if she can’t quit, he’s the boss, and he’s incapable of shame, I don’t know what other options she has.

          1. fposte*

            If that’s the case, she may not have any options. There really aren’t that many mechanisms that would regulate this.

            Fortunately, though, he may be capable of shame, he may respond to requests not to do this, and she may be able to quit, so we’re not necessarily to “You’re stuck” yet.

            1. Jennifer*

              I assumed she’s stuck since she hasn’t left. If I had any other options, I wouldn’t have stayed there after the first urine-filled cup made an appearance. But you’re right we don’t know that for certain. It’s just a guess.

              Also, I just don’t see how someone who pours urine down the sink in front of their employees is capable of shame.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s not likely to be a story thought worthy of covering.

        I know people want there to be consequences here — hence the mentions of OSHA, the media, etc. None of them are likely to be fruitful, in reality.

        1. Jennifer*

          Fair enough. It’s just one of those frustrating situations where I don’t know if anything the OP does will actually change anything. It sounds like this boss is beyond shame.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            She can tell boss directly to stop doing it and keep a bottle of bleach on hand if she continues to use the kitchen sink (I would never touch it again personally).

            1. Jennifer*

              I mean, I can think of a lot of other options but they would likely get her fired lol. Like yelling “bad boss! Bad!” whenever he does it like he’s a puppy.

              I don’t think asking him to stop will do anything, but I’d be thrilled to be proven wrong.

              1. Kix*

                Ha! I now have a visual of the OP whacking the boss with a rolled-up newspaper while yelling, “Bad boss! Bad!”

        2. Drago Cucina*

          I think that depends on the size of the community and the news cycle. Living in the the home county of Meth Squirrel sometimes things catch the public eye. What was a weird local story became briefly HUGE.

      3. AndrewA63*

        Recording it and posting it to craigslist or reddit might be better. Just realize you’re burning that bridge, likely (then again, does it matter?)…

    2. Colette*

      I really doubt the local news is going to publicize that the owner of a small family business is doing this. It just isn’t news. And I do not see how getting the liquid tested is of any use – the OP is not analyzing a crime scene. There is no fairness police that will swoop in and say “Oh, you’re right, this is unreasonable behavior, so he has to stop”.

      And this is definitely gross, but I don’t really see it as a health risk for the OP.

        1. fposte*

          Urine isn’t much of a health risk. While it’s not quite a sterile as is popularly claimed, the microorganisms in it are infinitesimal (especially male urine). Somebody brushing their teeth over a sink is likely more of a danger, and I’m also guessing people don’t bleach the sink after they wash their hands, either.

          How gross something is doesn’t necessarily indicate how much of a health risk it is.

          1. Jennifer*

            Not trying to be snarky here, but I doubt that’s much of a comfort to someone that had urine poured over their lunch dishes. I wouldn’t want the scientific explanation about the microorganisms in their urine (I’m guessing that would vary depending on the person also). I just want them to stop doing it.

            1. fposte*

              I don’t disagree–I’m just pointing out that this really isn’t that much of a health risk so that that doesn’t give her much leverage.

              I mean, it’s ridiculous that it even gets that far, like we need to be finding a reason for the dude not to be dumping his piss out in the kitchen other than “You don’t dump your piss in the kitchen.”

        2. Colette*

          Her dirty dishes, that she is going to wash. I don’t see a significant health risk.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            So someone pours pee on your dishes, you wash them and you’re good to eat off of them again?

            1. fposte*

              I’m a yes. I’d take them home through the dishwasher rather than handwashing, but they’re still going to be cleaner than absorbent materials like sponges and kitchen towels. (And, frankly, any unprotected oral sex. But that shouldn’t happen in the office.)

            2. Colette*


              But even if you’re not OK with that, it’s not because there’s a health risk – it’s because you think it’s gross (which it is.)

            3. Róisín*

              I mean, some of us are a little less bothered, I guess? I’ve woken up to kitten diarrhea in bed with me (fun!) and had super baby kittens pee all over me (so fun!) and I just sighed and cleaned up. I know people who would’ve thrown out the sheets/clothes. I’ve used my dishes as cat dishes when I was desperate, and I know people who would never think of those dishes as clean ever again.

              Human urine on dishes? I’d be aghast that they thought this was in A N Y W A Y appropriate behavior, but I would probably just wash them twice and call it a day.

              Remember there’s a scale to this. One end is “EW PEE” and the other end is “golden showers”.

  38. Bunny*

    Okay, this is so gross, but it made me question something I do in the office, but it NOWHERE near as gross as this.
    I drink tea at my desk and lately it has been staining my teeth, so my dentist suggested I rinse with mouthwash afterwards, so I do. I keep mouthwash in my desk and swish it (when no one is looking) and discreetly spit it into my mug, then I go to the sink to dump the mouthwash and wash my cup. Am I doing this wrong? I would do it in the bathrooms, but then people look at me really funny, and it seems unsanitary to just spit directly into the kitchenette sink right in front of my coworkers. Should I do it differently?

      1. nnn*

        Oh, sorry, I just saw you say that people look at you funny if you do it in the bathroom. (That’s what I get for reading without my glasses.

        When people look at you funny in the bathroom, are you just walking in with the mouthwash already in your mouth and spitting it out in the sink, or are you doing the whole ritual in the bathroom?

        If you’re just spitting, it might be more effective to do the whole thing in the bathroom to provide them with context, so it’s visually apparent that you’re mouthwashing as opposed to just randomly spitting in the bathroom sink.

        If you’re already doing that, just look at the funny back. It’s a bathroom activity, you’re doing it in the bathroom. That’s what you’re supposed to be doing!

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          All of this. This is a bathroom activity for sure. Your coworkers don’t want to wash their dishes in your backwash.

    1. fposte*

      I’m going to go with yes, I’m afraid. If I were your manager, I’d request that you move that to the bathroom. Generally, that’s where hygiene activities take place. If people look at you funny, I’d just smile brightly with your unstained teeth.

    2. Temperance*

      Gross. Do it in the bathrooms. Don’t spit at your desk, or in front of your coworkers.

    3. Jennifer*

      Yes, this belongs in the bathroom. I wouldn’t want that poured down the kitchen sink. It may seem strange since we dump half empty cups we’ve drunk beverages out of down the drain, but it’s not the same thing, imo.

      I’ve seen people brush, floss, and use mouthwash after lunch in public restrooms. Yes, you are going to get some strange looks but who cares? This is a bathroom activity.

    4. the_scientist*

      Do you not have a bathroom sink?

      My office had issues with people brushing their teeth and spitting into the kitchen sink, and now there are signs everywhere reminding people that those are BATHROOM ACTIVITIES.

    5. Murphy*

      I wouldn’t look at you funny for using mouthwash in the bathroom, but if I saw you spitting into your mug at your desk, I probably would. Even if you spit into your mug in the bathroom and pour it down the sink to avoid a mess, I think that’s better than doing it at your desk.

    6. The Original K.*

      Yes, I think you should do it differently. Drink your tea at your desk, then take your mouthwash to the bathroom and use it there – just like people who brush and/or floss their teeth at work after eating.

    7. Peachywithasideofkeen*

      Yeah, you should do this in the bathroom. Not sure why people look at you funny in there, but the looks will be a lot worse when someone ends up catching you in the act at your desk.

    8. Fortitude Jones*

      My dental hygienist and dentist suggested I drink all caffeinated drinks, whether hot or cold, through a straw to avoid staining my teeth and then chewing sugar free gum afterwards. Can you start using straws with your tea to avoid the need for mouthwash at work in the first place?

      1. Bunny*

        Hi, Bunny here.
        Thank you all for the replies, I’ll start doing it in the bathrooms now, weird looks bedamned! For the record, I would bring my mouthwash with me to the bathroom, rinse and spit there, but I did get weird looks from people on my way there and while I was in there too, but whatever. And I have high walls in my cubicle so I am confident that no one ever saw me swish or spit in my mug, or even knew I was doing it. But I will go back to using the bathroom to do it again.
        To Fortitude Jones: I wish I could use a straw, but I use a tea press that can’t be used with straws, unfortunately, but I do use this advice too when I can.

        1. WellRed*

          For the record, Bunny. If your coworkers are giving you weird looks in the bathroom for this, that’s on them.

          1. Keyboard Cowboy*

            Agreed, in many of the office ladies’ rooms I’ve worked at (five companies in tech now) there’s at least one person’s cup with toothpaste and toothbrush kept permanently in the bathroom, and often a shelf with three or more sets like that. Why would someone give you a look for cleaning your teeth in the bathroom? They’re the weirdos – doing your teeth at work is pretty normal.

        2. Remedial Chaos Theory*

          The people giving you weird looks for doing this in the bathroom are the weird ones. This is what bathrooms are for!

          1. Iris Eyes*

            Isn’t that strange though? It would make far more sense to do mouth things in the mouth thing room (kitchen) and keep bottom things in the bottom thing room (air born feces being what they are). The consensus is clear though I would say nonsensical. The current method keeping things out of the bathroom makes more sense, especially as the sink and mug are being washed.

            1. Remedial Chaos Theory*

              I see it as a “body-related things in the bathroom” — brushing teeth, using mouthwash, brushing hair, clipping nails, etc etc — and “dishes/food-related things in the kitchen”.

        3. lawschoolmorelikeblawschool*

          Yah people perform all sorts of oral hygiene in my offices bathroom

          1. Not Me*

            I could be wrong, but I assume the weird looks are because she’s washing a dish in the bathroom. Not because of oral hygiene. If no one knows what’s in the mug they might be thinking “why would you wash a dish in the bathroom instead of the kitchen sink??”

        4. HeronByTheLake*

          I worked with gal who regularly brushed her teeth after lunch every day in the restroom. It only made me think maybe I should be more conscientious of my own teeth brushing. Bathrooms are for this.

        5. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I’m sure I looked startled the first time I saw a co-worker brushing her teeth in the bathroom, because she said “Just for the record, I fill the mug in the kitchen.” :D But I what I was thinking was “I should start doing that too!”
          (And I did.)

        6. Fortitude Jones*

          Ah, yeah – your coworkers are weird that they’re giving you strange looks for using mouthwash in the bathroom. Do they not gargle in their bathrooms at home? Ignore them.

    9. Spit Away*

      I’m going against the grain, because there’s nothing at all wrong with that. It’s a little mouthwash in a sink, that’s being rinsed down the drain as you wash the mug. Nobody knows, so nobody gets grossed out, and what they don’t know won’t hurt them. Literally in this case, because there’s no harm done.

  39. Law & Author*

    Depending on the laws where you live, I’m pretty sure this might violate health and safety code, so you can also try the “we could get in trouble for this” angle.

  40. nnn*

    So the devil on my shoulder started contemplating whether there’s a way for Boss to accidentally get jostled when carrying the pee cup through the office, in a way that very specifically makes it spill on him and only him. But that would probably be a wee bit tricky to carry off.

    In terms of actual practical advice, if you’re reluctant to say anything that sounds like you’re calling out or judging Boss, a way to execute Alison’s “just say something” without actually calling out Boss is to say “Ew, what is that? It smells like…urine!” with the tone and delivery you’d use if your senses are telling you something that you know cannot possibly be true (e.g. “Did…did you just levitate???”)

    Then, regardless of what he says it is, you can say “Could you dump it in the bathroom? It smells like urine, and that’s really gross in the kitchen with the dishes.” You aren’t accusing him of any atrocious behaviour or anything, you’re just asking him to keep the smelly stuff away from the food.

  41. Not Enough Wine*

    First of all, what in the actual hell?! I think I threw up in my mouth.

    So many questions…

    Does he dispose of the cup or reuse it? Is it a one time use? (I can’t even believe I am asking this).

    When in all this is he WASHING HIS HANDS???!!!

  42. Pebbles*

    Would this be something to report to OSHA? I mean, bodily fluids should not be getting carried around the office and disposed of in the kitchen sink. UGH!

  43. Special Agent*

    I literally puked in my mouth.. I think this would be a hill I would die on.. I can’t work for someone like this, what else is he doing in the office if he is so flip about this pee behavior?!….

  44. KK*

    I’d bet my next paycheck that he does this at home and it’s so normal for him that he doesn’t think twice (or give a crap) that he does it at the office.

  45. Anya the Demon*

    OMFG. Is this some weird, twisted power play? Why isn’t he just peeing in the bathroom?? If there’s some reason that he HAS to pee in a cup, why isn’t he flushing it in the toilet?? I have to imagine that there are lots of other boundary crossing issues with your boss. I can’t picture someone who would do that as being an otherwise normal individual.

    1. Working Mom Having It All*

      It is, indeed, a weird twisted power play.

      My guess is that it’s not a coincidence that he’s the boss and one of only a few men working there.

  46. Smiley*

    I confess to not having read all 97 (thus far) comments, but I haven’t seen any mention of hand washing. I wouldn’t touch ANYTHING he touches! Not doorknobs, not pens, not documents.

    1. WellRed*

      Handwashing is the least of their problems. And honestly, do you think everyone else always washes their hands everywhere and every time they go? Nope.

      1. angelsaves*

        uh, yeah, i assume that people wash their hands? i don’t think that’s a weird thing to assume?

      2. Fortitude Jones*

        Which is why I never touched anything communal with my bare hands when I worked in an office and kept a spray bottle of 91% alcohol on me at all times.

  47. Angus McDonald, Boy Detective*

    This is so incredibly gross. Honestly OP never shake hands with this man because if he’s this gross you KNOW he doesn’t wash his hands after.

  48. Barbara Eyiuche*

    My father started doing something like this. There was no way to convince him to stop. He had been extremely intelligent, so when I tried to explain why he shouldn’t, he just ignored me, or got angry, and treated me with utter contempt. He has dementia.
    I also worked in a dysfunctional office where some of the workers did not want to leave their desks, even for a minute. Going to the bathroom was a waste of time. They may have peed in bottles. Still, they did not dump it in the kitchen sink.

    1. Muriel Heslop*

      That was my first thought – cognitive issue.

      I teach special ed and this is what we call “pathological behavior” (I have had multiple similar incidents with students. Don’t ask.) which is almost always enough to get someone an IEP and additional testing. The odds are high that this specific behavior isn’t limited to this and if it is, it won’t be for long.

      If you can address with someone out of a concern for your boss, please do. At least you will have the peace of mind knowing that you tried. Good luck! And I hope you can get this resolved!

    2. Two Cents*

      Same here, with the family member who started doing this regularly and would not change his behavior. This was actually my ex-husband’s first clear sign of dementia, and he was diagnosed shortly after this was brought to the attention of his medical providers.

    3. Kiki*

      Dementia is so tricky to handle as a family member, especially before you know someone has dementia. It’s hard to separate early on what is dementia vs. a person making bad choices/ being forgetful/ having quirks. I think it’s definitely worthwhile to bring up to family members again if the boss continues after being spoken to. He definitely could just be a gross dude, but it’s also possible he has dementia setting in. Even though it’s been brought up to relatives before and it hasn’t fixed anything, it’s possible, depending on how involved in day-to-day operations these male relatives are, that they think they already resolved the issue.

  49. Ark-ee-teck*

    There is a reason all commercial building codes require bathrooms to be X feet away from “kitchen/food prep” areas.
    In theory you could try the line “you’re violating building codes by bringing the bathroom into the kitchen”. Or call your local building inspector, explain what is going on and ask them to come talk with him. While there may be medical reasoning behind his actions, I agree this is an alpha male power thing. Hopefully another male in a power position would get through to him.

    Far fetched, but then so was the idea that someone would behave this way.

  50. the_scientist*

    I mean, I have a pretty high grossness tolerance, and I’m not super bothered by pee in general. It’s basically sterile as far as bodily fluids go and it’s mostly water if you’re healthy.

    That said, there is no sane justification for dumping pee in a kitchen sink where people are washing their dishes. It doesn’t matter if the boss has dementia, has a catheter, has a swollen prostate or whatever. He needs to deal with his bathroom needs in the bathroom. Which he presumably has access to.

    I would bet a lot of money that this is a weird fetish for the boss, in which case there’s an extra layer of grossness of him sexualizing his staff on top of the already incredible grossness of you having TO SEE AND INTERACT WITH HIS URINE.

    1. Paralegal Part Deux*

      “Urine is not sterile, even before it comes out of you and gets contaminated by your skin. Bacteria are present at low levels in the urine of healthy people not suffering from a urinary tract infection.”

      1. the_scientist*

        Right, that’s why I said it’s “basically sterile.” Every bodily fluid that comes out of someone is going to have a certain amount of bacteria present, but unlike blood, urine is extremely unlikely to transmit pathogens between people.

    2. Narya*

      I was just coming here to say the same, that I bet this is a creepy fetish. It’s the only thing I could think while reading this, because my mind cannot comprehend anything else regarding this situation.

  51. Lauren*

    Is he otherwise a nice boss or is he generally a jerk? This might be a very cynical take, but sounds kind of like this could be a really gross way to assert his power over the office. Almost as though he’s daring anyone to say something.

  52. Felicia FancyBottom*

    I used to have a roommate that would urinate in cups/bottles in his room. He dumped them out his window (as far as I know). This is so much worse. I would be looking for another job.

    1. A Simple Narwhal*

      My (now) husband and I were looking at apartments a few years ago and we got to a bedroom and there were gallon jugs everywhere and I was like “oh wow this guy really likes apple jui-OH MY GOD”.

      Yup, despite the fact that the tenant literally had to walk past the bathroom to leave, he instead insisted on peeing in jugs. There were multiple(!!!) FULL(!!!!!!!!!!) gallon jugs. And he did not appear to be a well-hydrated man so this had to have been over the course of months.

      I can’t decide if letting things mellow is better than dumping out the window, but let’s be honest, both are horrific, nonsensical options.

        1. A Simple Narwhal*

          Possibly! But I can assure you Howard Hughes was not living in the apartment we looked at. ;-D

        2. Oxford Comma*

          According to her daughter who was her caregiver in her later years, Marlene Dietrich did it too near the end.

      1. Felicia FancyBottom*

        I am feeling better about my roommate now. But, to be honest, urinating in his room was the least of his outrageous behaviors that eventually got him kicked out.

      2. Nerdling*

        Meth addicts do this to distill out the unabsorbed meth that passes through their systems (the body only absorbs about 40-60% of the drug in a dose at a time). Once I learned that, any collection of urine-in-containers immediately makes me think meth.

  53. Veryanon*

    I seem to remember reading a letter to some advice column a while back (can’t remember which one now) about a guy who was peeing into bottles in his home office because it was more convenient than going all the way downstairs to the bathroom and then NOT DISPOSING OF THEM. Apparently his wife discovered the pee bottles and was, understandably, horrified and grossed out.
    Based on this letter and what other posters have said about the SNL writers, is this a regular thing that guys do? And if so, why, in the name of all that’s holy?

    1. Drew*

      It is a thing that GROSS guys do. Non-gross guys use the toilets in their offices or homes, because gross.

    2. Greg*

      I mean, I can’t speak for every man, but what the hell, I will anyway:

      NO! THIS IS NOT NORMAL! The vast majority of men find urine as disgusting as you do. They don’t want to see their own pee anywhere outside of a toilet, much less others’. They don’t store it in cups. They don’t put it down the sink.

    3. Parenthetically*

      I have certainly known teenage/college-age boys who, in a moment of desperation on a long road trip, have peed into a bottle and then disposed of it at the first opportunity.

      I do not know any adult males who do this on any sort of regular basis. Because it is disgusting.

      1. Jamie*

        I know a few adult males (over 60) who keep a bottle in their car in winter because in the Midwest you can be stuck in traffic for hours waiting for a plow and they consider the bottle self defense for their interior.

        I have no idea what their disposal process is, but I doubt very much dishes are involved.

      2. doreen*

        There are lots of men ( and women) who pee into various containers when they don’t have access to a restroom/may not be able to wait long enough- they sell those Stadium Pals and other portable urinals for a reason. But they are intended for and mainly used by people who don’t have access to/can’t wait for a toilet , not by people who can’t be bothered to walk down the stairs to the bathroom . And there’s never a good reason to leave full containers around or empty them into the sink.

    4. CCi*

      It was a Reddit post, if I remember correctly. The guy was also masturbating and wiping himself off with his shirts, which he also threw in the attic along with the piss bottles.

      1. nnn*


        Did he not have, like, a box of kleenex on his desk??

        (And yet he had a bunch of shirts just sitting around in his office?)

  54. Jessica Fletcher*

    Given his age, maybe he has a medical condition that means he can’t hold it to get to the bathroom. If that’s the case, he definitely has other options! He could wear Depends or a similar product. He could close his office door, use a …receptical… made for this purpose, and immediately dispose of it in the bathroom, using lots of hand sanitizer before and after.

    I’m telling myself it’s a medical condition, because it’s too disturbing to think he’s doing this for another reason.

    I know Alison is against anonymous notes, but I would print out something about the products made for this purpose, and leave it on his chair with a giant bottle of hand sanitizer. I cannot imagine speaking to him about it.

  55. HR Ninja*

    I don’t want to add any extra stress to an already very stressful (and weird) situation, but please, please, PLEASE send us an update!

  56. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I’m not easily grossed out and this just did it. I just cannot.

    I have to wonder if he’s got any cognitive issues. This sounds like he’s losing his facilities to me unless he’s always just been this gross, which could be the case.

  57. Petry Dish*

    I’m sorry, but no matter your medical condition it’s best to deal with said medical condition in your bathroom or perhaps get a bathroom installed in or near your executive office if you are the business owner. I really don’t want to walk in to my boss reliving himself in his office.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      THIS. He is the owner. Time for his family to suggest that he’s earned the right to a private latrine.

  58. Pumpkin*

    I can’t believe I am going to say this but, something very very close to this actually happened to a friend of mine, who was working in a restaurant.

    Long story short, she told the manager who went off on the owner and drowned the equipment in cleanser and made him pay to have the dishwasher cleaned.

    He never did it again and never even said anything to the manager. And the restaurant doesn’t exists anymore.

    So, yeah, speak up.

    1. Jaybeetee*

      At… a restaurant??

      Okay, THAT sounds like something that could have gone to the media.

      1. Pumpkin*

        I would have done it if the restaurant wasnt already shut down by the time I heard about it tbh

  59. Utoh!*

    Oh, I missed where the LW wrote someone had mentioned it to one of the male relatives and nothing changed. This is definitely one of those cases where there has to be a united front. If nothing has changed, then everyone needs to go back to relative and demand that this disgusting behavior be dealt with. There could be a myriad of reasons why he does this, but the bottom line is that it needs to stop.

    I sincerely hope LW and her coworkers can take a stand about this…because, it may actually get worse…

    1. Grayson*

      Oh. My. Gods. That’s a horrifying question that I almost don’t want answered. (Almost.)

      1. PMP*

        I know! I just…can’t shake the fact from my head I already know the answer to that question….

  60. Leah*

    all I can say is happy monday, everyone! this is your weekly reminder that shit cam always be much worse than it is

    btw if I was the OP I would’ve thrown out my dishes and not finish washing them. in fact, I’d leave them on the sink and refuse to touch them ever again. period. I am flabbergasted

  61. UghNo*

    The LW and her office mates must have better impulse control than I, because I would have blurted out “WTF are you doing?!” by now.

    1. Mimi Me*

      Yep! I am quiet and non-confrontational in most things. This is not one of those things. This is a thing that would likely have me causing a scene – especially if he dumped it on my lunch dishes as I was actively washing them. ::shuddering in horror::

  62. Lady Phoenix*

    To quote the penguin:

    “I believe the word you’re looking for is….

  63. Mimi Me*

    This is gross. It’s so gross that, if I were in LW’s position, I would be making a scene every time he carried that cup anywhere regardless of the firing risk. It’s disgusting, it’s unsanitary, and it needs to be called out. And if the LW is fired for it? Think of the story you can tell at your interview about why you were let go from your last job.

    1. Veryanon*

      Right? Can you see explaining this to the unemployment office when you’re applying for benefits? “Yes, I was fired from my job because my boss, the owner of the company, carried around cups of his own urine, which he then poured down the sink in our office kitchen, and I told him to stop doing that because it was gross.”

  64. Health Insurance Nerd*

    What. The. Heck.

    Nooooo, this is just so much no. I’m so sorry you had to write this, LW, I have no words.

  65. MuseumChick*

    When he comes in at lunch to toss his pee “OMG WHAT IS THAT SMELL??? IS THAT…IS THAT PEE???”

  66. Ann O'Nemity*

    Is it possible that the peeing in the cup is a health issue? The OP mentioned he’s 70; maybe he literally cannot make it to the restroom when the urge strikes.

    The pouring in the kitchen sink, though, is inexcusable.

    1. MuseumChick*

      I suppose but even if it is, the way he is handling is 100% inappropriate. They make adult diapers for a reason.

  67. Lobsterman*

    1) this is unquestionably abusive. There is no possibility of confusion.

    2) pouring urine on someone’s property is vandalism.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I want to address the “it’s assault” and “it’s vandalism” comments. I think there’s an urge to go in that direction with really egregious things because people want there to be some external authority that will Make It Stop. But (a) typically when those words get thrown around here, it’s really unlikely authorities would take any real action and (b) it’s enough for it to just be horrible behavior that should be called out.

      1. Lobsterman*

        It may be correct that the authorities might refuse to follow up (it’s misdemeanor vandalism at worst), but it’s totally definitely illegal to pour your pee on someone else’s stuff.

        1. fposte*

          It would be illegal in most places to deliberately pour your pee on somebody else’s stuff. It’s not clear that this was a deliberate attempt to pour pee on stuff.

          Pee can get all kinds of places without the law caring. The law cares more about whether stuff is damaged or people are threatened.

  68. Parenthetically*

    “So, why did you leave your last position?”

    “Well, my boss emptied his bladder into cups and dumped the urine on top of dishes as I washed them.”

      1. Goya de la Mancha*

        I feel like it would be difficult to resume the interview after that, I’m not sure I would be able to pick up my jaw if I heard and interviewee say that!

  69. JJ Bittenbinder*

    Well, ok now. I have had some bad jobs and some bad bosses in my time, but my sense for what bad means has just been completely recalibrated!

  70. WorkingMA*

    Wow. I don’t know whether I should have sympathy for the guy (medical issue) or be outraged (he is fully aware of what he is doing).

    This is sparking a follow up question. I am a nursing mom and am pumping twice a day in my office, which locks. After I pump, I put my milk in a lunchbox and take it to the communal fridge. I do rinse out my pump parts in the communal sink, which is almost always empty, except for a fork or spoon. Is this okay? Should I be cleaning my parts in the bathroom?

    1. Emi.*

      Don’t clean your pump parts in the bathroom! *That’s* gross — for you/your baby. Pump parts are for food prep and they belong in the same sink as adults’ dishes.

    2. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I wouldn’t look twice at your for cleaning the pump parts in the kitchen. You are cleaning things that came into contact with food that you will be feeding to another human being (no matter its bodily source). Totally different than a cup of urine.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Exactly. You would not want to wash your pumping equipment in the bathroom and risk microbial contamination that would be transferred into your baby’s milk.

    3. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

      Thirded. I will also say that my bosses both times I was a pumping mom (different bosses at different companies) told me that washing out my pump to clean for next use was totally fine to do in the office kitchen.

    1. Heidi*

      That I don’t have a problem with because 1) breast milk is intended for human consumption as opposed to being human waste, and 2) I doubt you overtly poured it over other people’s dishes.

      1. Emi.*

        Ahh this was unclear. I was imagining having pee poured over my pump parts, not feeling guilty for having used the kitchen sink!

        1. Heidi*

          Oh, I see. Well, considering the universal shock and horror in the responses to this post, it would be difficult to imagine that there were 2 offices out there where dumping urine into the office sink would be tolerated (or even considered a possibility). You’re probably fine. :)

    2. Zillah*

      I had coworkers at my last job who did that, and it didn’t phase me at all. That’s definitely kitchen sink washing.

    3. CommanderBanana*

      Breast milk is food! It’s not any different than cleaning out a coffee cup or milk container. It’s not a waste product! The *only* thing I could think of that *may* give someone pause is that some diseases can be transmitted via breast milk, but if that was the case I would assume the person in question wouldn’t be breast-feeding to being with.

  71. Jenny*

    If this is a new thing, it’s also a behavior that could indicate a health issue like the onset of Alzheimer’s, unfortunately it doesn’t sound like there’s someone to recommend he see a doctor to /:

  72. RadManCF*

    I seem to recall reading of some pre-modern societies using urine as a disinfectant, due to its ammonia content. I wonder if this boss is into pre-modern living in his spare time.

  73. Rebecca*

    Yikes. My mother has this weird obsession about urine and fecal output, and I didn’t know this until I moved in with her. She’s elderly, a retired RN, and has one of those “hats” in the toilet and she measures urine, number of ounces, exact time collected, on all sorts of slips of paper. She also writes “BM” and the time. She has frequent UTI’s due to a bladder problem, but this isn’t only done while she has that problem, it’s all the time. I was doing dishes in the kitchen about a month ago, and she came out with two jars of urine, held them up, and asked me if one was cloudier than the other. I said, ew, gross – this doesn’t belong in the kitchen, and she scolded me – it’s just urine, and I may have a UTI, and I told her to get that back in the bathroom.

    She broke her wrist on Wednesday, so big cast, sling, basically helpless (I posted on open thread on 7/4 and Saturday for the whole tale). The first thing I told her on Wednesday when we got back from the ER was I was not measuring, recording, looking at, or anything else to deal with urine other than flushing the toilet. Period. End of story. I had the most unpleasant task of emptying the “hat”, a few jars of urine, a measuring cup (!!), and then she complained the bathroom smelled like pee. Well, no duh.

    About OP’s boss – This is NOT NORMAL. It is not acceptable, and if he has some sort of cognitive impairment going on, and he’s the owner of this business, someone needs to address it. Are there shareholders, family, anyone? HR department? Family friend? Someone needs to tell him no, never again.

      1. Slartibartfast*

        It’s a medical device that sits between the toilet seat and bowl to collect urine specimens, for patients unable to pee in a cup. it’s roughly the shape of an upside down Pilgrim hat.

  74. MicroManagered*

    Guys! I’m so excited for Alison’s next book! Sentences I Never Thought I’d Ever Type Out: Tales of an Advice Columnist!

    Here’s an excerpt:

    There is no world where it is acceptable for your boss to pour a container of his urine on your lunch dishes, even if said dishes are in the process of being washed. There is also no world where it is acceptable for your boss to pour his urine down the kitchen sink, carry it in a cup throughout your hallways, or leave it sitting in a container outside his office door. And there is definitely no world where it is acceptable for your boss to take out his penis at his desk, which he must be doing.

    1. Sam Sepiol*

      I would buy that book. It should be a collaboration though. One chapter per advice column.

  75. bunniferous*

    In my line of work, sadly I find pee bottles in abandoned foreclosures. I thought THAT was bad. Never mind….

  76. Anon for this, for sure*

    OK, speaking as someone who has had to pee in a cup while working, I feel like an expert today! But in my case- I work from home and it was an emergency where I could not hang up a phone call and had a cup handy. But this is not something that’s at all appropriate in an office with people, not appropriate to bring into an area with people, not appropriate to put in a kitchen sink (yours or others).

    This really seems like a situation where the guy has been doing this for a long time, and truly doesn’t understand why this is inappropriate anymore- it’s become a force of habit.

    PS- peeing in a cup is NOT fun, why would someone willingly do this regularly???

      1. Anon for this, for sure*

        Gosh I hope not, because the thought of any of my relatives doing this regularly is super gross!

  77. Falling Diphthong*

    I recall a mystery novel in which the elderly victim, living in an old rambling house with his bedroom far from the bathroom, unearthed an antique chamber pot to use at night. Thus, his friends who were close enough to know of this arrangement didn’t buy his “accidental fall” in said distant bathroom in the middle of the night, and unearthed the chamber pot o’ pee to prove their theory.

    So the part where a person comes up with a chamberpot model in extremis? I get that. But not any of the rest–the office, the lack of a lid, the kitchen, the other people around. Sadly this is probably an early sign of mental decline, where someone loses their social calibration.

    1. Syfygeek*

      Trying to think if anything except the pee in the sink, and your post reminded me of an Antiques Roadshow episode, the UK version. Couple were so proud of their centuries old gravy boat, kept it prominently displayed, and I think had used it a time or 2 for fancy dinners.

      Turns it was used at fancy dinners, but it was a chamber pot that could be used under the table so guests didn’t have to get up to relieve themselves.

    2. Nicki Name*

      That’s The Plain Old Man by Charlotte MacLeod. A fun mystery, and especially recommended to Gilbert & Sullivan fans!

  78. OG Karyn*

    If my incredibly frail late father-in-law can get himself to the bathroom to empty his ostomy bag while recovering from colon and rectal cancer, your boss can haul himself to the work bathroom. This is gross beyond measure, and I just cleaned up a puddle of cat pee that had congealed on the washing machine in my parents’ basement (this is an aberration – they literally didn’t see it, it was hidden behind a bunch of cleaning products and I just happened to notice it).

    Do you have an HR department? If so, this is your next stop, IMO.

  79. Skeeder Jones*

    I would focus on what Alison said about the fact that he is taking his penis out in the office to pee in the cup. Should anyone encounter him doing that, for any reason, it could become a sexual harassment issue. If the other leadership members aren’t skeeved out that he is walking around the office with his urine in a cup, throwing it in the sink while someone is washing dishes (where it could hit their hands!), then maybe they will care about potential lawsuits. Who knows. This is nuts.

  80. Not Me*

    If he dumped bodily fluids on you (while you’re washing the dishes) that can be considered assault. It is just gross, it’s actually illegal.

      1. Not Me*

        He probably wouldn’t actually be charged with assault, but he could be. It’s like spiting on someone, it’s illegal and people are charged with that all the time. You don’t get to put your bodily fluids on another person’s body without their consent.

        1. fposte*

          People are very rarely charged with spitting on someone; it’s usually if you’ve done it to a cop. And that’s a situation where it’s being deliberately adversarial.

          Dude is regularly pouring his pee in the sink, and this is one instance where stuff was in the sink; he’s not throwing his pee at people. If his pee just splashed on somebody while he was pouring it into the sink, there’s no attempt at bodily injury there. The best you’d be likely to get from the situation described is negligence, and that would factor into a tort, not a crime.

  81. Camelid Accoucheuse*

    So, my friends dad does this. He has dementia.

    At his age, if he’s having urgency issues, he needs to see a urologist or oncologist or both and this needs to stop. Period. This is not okay. Regardless of if he’s just gross and lazy and entitled or if he has medical issues. This just isn’t okay.

  82. Four lights*


    My boss actually had to pee on a cup for a while, but that was because he tore his Achilles’s tendon and couldn’t get up the stairs. And that pee went in the toilet.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      But. . .at work? Who carried the pee to the toilet? Why no handicap accessible toilet?

      I just don’t think this is a reasonable excuse. What about #2? Or, the fact that a woman in the same situation would have to deal with it differently? I can’t see a woman doing a full undergarment removal to pee in a bedpan in her office.

      1. Four lights*

        Office was a law firm in an old house (100 years maybe) His business partner kindly took it up stairs.

  83. Pinkie Pie Works Hard*

    Ok, I know that we’re not suppose to do armchair diagnostics here in the comments, but this is so far out of the bounds of reasonable behavior, and the LW did mention a fairly advanced age… it possible that early stage dementia is coming into play and affecting the boss’s judgement? Are other things becoming more out of whack? Do you see more questionable judgement calls happening? Seriously, this sounds so strange that it makes me worried about the health of the boss. I’m not sure what to recommend doing if you think it is something that requires an intervention, but it feels like it’s something to consider. The fact that family workers in the workplace are effectively ignoring the behavior makes me question whether they’re not prepared to see their family leader on the decline.

  84. The Other Katie*

    I think this may be the only letter I’ve ever read here that just made my brain crash. What in the what?

  85. LD'S Mom*

    The OP says “someone did mention it to one of them” (family member). Are there other family members that might take this more seriously than the one who they mentioned it to? Can you request a group meeting with all the family members and make it clear that this is totally unacceptable? Surely not all of them would think that this is in any way okay or normal behavior!

    1. Jamie*

      If they do this I do hope the family is open to hearing them and evaluating properly.

      I’ve seen family members in a family owned business clean up (metaphorically) after family members who are clearly in mental decline but refuse to acknowledge there is a problem or stop it at it’s source.

      10 accidents with the company car in 6 months? The employee who points out this may be a cause of concern was schooled hard to keep their opinions to themselves.

      But I’m sure others would be grateful for a heads up if there is a health issue…so hopefully someone there is reasonable.

  86. Memyselfandi*

    Anyone who has ever lived for any period of time without indoor plumbing will be familiar with the concept of a thunder jug. However, the contents are typically disposed of in the outhouse, not the kitchen sink! My first thought was why not take it to the toilet? Then I realized that someone who is peeing in their office (which has a toilet) has passed some point of reasonableness that probably makes it OK to pour it into the sink. I am so sorry for this office. Would not want to have to deal with this.

  87. Chidi Anna Kendrick*

    I’m not trying to justify this behavior because it’s terrible. But could he have dementia? I have two questions, LW, if you’re willing to answer. Is he otherwise sane? And how long has this been going on? I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this.

  88. Mannheim Steamroller*

    This letter should be a Glassdoor review, complete with the same title.

    1. Anonandanon*

      Yeah, I was thinking the same if nothing changed after the LW and all the others in the office brought it clearly to light. Perhaps public shaming will make it stop if it’s being done on purpose for some vile reason.

  89. Jaybeetee*

    Dafuq did I just read?

    Perhaps he could start tossing it out the window, medieval-Europe style, with a warning to passerby?

  90. Formerly Known As*

    That’s it. No need for a vote at the end of the year. This has to be the worst boss of 2019.

  91. Arya Snark*

    I want to thank the OP here for the weight loss help. This one killed my appetite for quite some time.

  92. Red Sky*

    *Runs screaming towards the abyss, then jumps in*

    I now know the actual, literal, feeling of the expression, “My skin is crawling”

  93. Aghast*

    I am wondering if talking to any of the boss’s family members (since it is a family-based firm) might be helpful. The best person to address this would be his mother, after that, father or older brother or sister.* Someone who could remind him of his early toilet training. Besides that, someone who could address the (not to diagnose but) likelihood of a medical diagnosis such as dementia. I am curious if he has always done this or is it a new development. If always, how did OP or any other employee last a week? If new, time for boss to retire (from public life as well as work, if he is incapable of toileting normally.)

    *I know 70-year-olds with living parents, some families have long life spans, and if he’s still working at 70, he might be one of them.

    (Having a flashback to an older boss’s older sister’s visit to his extremely cluttered office. We overheard, “Oh, Forrest, what would mother say?” It became a catchphrase at that office. I don’t recall it making a difference, though.)

  94. Semprini!*

    Are there any chemistry experts out there who can think of something that could plausibly be put in the kitchen sink (e.g. some kind of sink cleaning product, some kind of food residue) that would react dramatically with urine and only with urine? Foaming, changing colours, etc.?

      1. Semprini!*

        I was thinking more it might be dissuasive if something dramatic and unexpected (and possibly dangerous-looking) happened when he dumped the pee in the sink.

        1. fposte*

          I think that would depend on his having a desire for stealth. Which he doesn’t seem to have.

    1. Anonymous 5*

      I mean, there are plenty of acid-base indicators. But the ideal one for this would have a color transition from colorless to colorful; have that transition happen in the neighborhood of a pH of 6; have the other end of the range be whatever the pH of the tap water is (distilled is usually a touch above 5, and so that isn’t a lot of wiggle room); and be relatively easily commercially available. And preferably not toxic, though a little goes a long way with indicators.

      Not sure whether the reaction between urine and baking soda would be dramatic enough of a foam producer, and I hope you’ll forgive me for not trying to find out!

      1. nnn*

        I got curious so I put some baking soda in the toilet bowl (above the water) and then peed on it.

        Nothing happened.

        1. Anonymous 5*

          Ha! thank you for that, because I will admit that I was actually curious after I’d typed my reply!

        2. Arts Akimbo*

          I am so happy someone did this!! I was curious, too, and am all out of baking soda.

    2. Environmental Compliance*

      Black light.

      We were using a black light flashlight to try to trace rat urine, and found a handprint above head height in a laundromat bathroom.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        ^as a health department inspector, mind you. Not just for giggles.

        There were many handprints, and lots of hand sanitizer dumped on us when we left.

  95. Artemesia*

    At first I thought — Gross old man, thoughtless bad habit. But when it got to he poured it on her dishes as she was doing them in the sink? That is not just gross habit that is: 1. dementia 2. aggressive assaultive behavior 3. sexist behavior or all three. He is marking his territory including dominating his female employee washing her dishes. This ought to blow sky high with whatever it takes to get him fired.

    1. MP*

      This seems like assault to me, too, the part of pouring it out on her while she’s doing dishes. Since he’s the owner, can’t be fired, but maybe she could figure out a way to publicly shame him? Don’t want any blow-back on her, though. I’m not a fan of publicly shaming generally, but in this case, it seems right to me. As long as dementia is ruled out.

  96. StaceyIzMe*

    It seems like you could call in a complaint to local authorities. (I don’t know your industry, so don’t know if that would be a license bureau, Better Business Bureau, local health department…?) But there should be a way to (pardon the language) make a stink that is big enough to get his attention. You shouldn’t have to “manage up” by going through the process of “please stop befouling the public space with your bodily waste”. Maybe this is a work around? Not that you can’t have exactly the conversation that Alison recommended, but maybe as an adjunct or in addition to- report this situation. It may violate local statues. (And “ew”, this is a squick-you-out letter!)

    1. Colette*

      Aside from the fact that none of these are likely to work (unless it’s a restaurant, there’s probably no license bureau, the BBB doesn’t investigate disputes with employees, the local health department is your best bet but this is unlikely to be a high priority), why would this be more effective than just asking him to stop?

      Why do you think you need to borrow authority to make a reasonable request?

      1. Destroyer of Worlds, Empress of Awesome*

        It’s not “borrowing authority.” It’s “reporting an unsanitary work condition.”

        Being that he is the owner, he may feel entitled to do this. “I own this building/pay the rent on it and if I want to pee in a cup in my office and dump it in the sink, I will!” Someone like that isn’t going to react positively to a reasonable request. However, someone like that WILL react to a government agency saying “Hey Sparky, you can’t dump your piss in the sink.”

        OSHA would have been the phone call I would be making before the rest of that urine went down the drain. That is so nasty and IS an OSHA violation.

        1. fposte*

          OSHA doesn’t police the ongoing sanitary conditions of all workplaces, though; I think that’s a common misconception. (Probably just as well, given the condition of most work refrigerators.)

    1. Mannheim Steamroller*

      Yes!! But don’t tell him that it’s “only” water. (Maybe add a hint of ammonia.)

  97. Rainbow Roses*

    Speak with the relatives who work there again, or don’t use the sink. Ever. Put your dirty dishes in a plastic bag to take home each day.

    Even if he apologize and say he’ll never do it again, I won’t trust that it won’t happen again once time has passed.

    1. Jamie*

      I agree with this. There is no resolution that would give me enough peace of mind to ever use the sink again.

  98. My Alter-Ego is Taller*

    At one of my former jobs there was a former coworker who used to pee in soda bottles at his desk and leave them sitting on his credenza, and there was supposedly once another coworker who mistook one such bottle for a beverage… and that was a favorite anecdote among the company’s leadership. At least the boss in the letter-writer’s story has his own office (not that this really makes it all that much better or less weird). My workplace was one where nobody had an enclosed office. It was an open office that had formerly been a series of railroad-style apartments, so some people had 2 or 3 walls around their desk, but every workspace was open on at least one side to general office traffic.
    Men are disgusting and they enjoy being disgusting.

    1. Jamie*

      How did he get away with having his penis out in an open office? I mean if that’s not an HR issue then Idk what one would be.

      1. My Alter-Ego is Taller*

        Nobody ever reported seeing him do it – and I never saw him do it either. It could be that others did encounter him doing it (or heard him doing it) and just didn’t want to get involved with the icky HR discussion, or it could be that he was very good at timing it for when nobody else was anywhere around. The irony of this is that, since the office was made out of former apartments, there were more bathrooms than in a normal office, and nobody had to go more than a room or two away to get to one.

  99. Anonymous 5*

    I am so grateful that, by the time I was able to read this post, there were 300+ comments; after being thoroughly grossed out by the letter I’ve been able to fall out of my chair laughing at some of the responses! OP, my sympathy and my hopes that you’re able to get a stop to this (and/or a better job) soon.

  100. Jackie*

    Perhaps some form of dementia ? Or he just does what he wants…and doesn’t care how his behavior might gross people out.

  101. PersonOfNoInterest*

    So I’m seeing a lot of posts immediately suggesting that a man in his 70s must be suffering cognitive decline, must have some sort of health issue, etc. While of course this behavior absolutely needs to stop, please also consider the likely common explanation: he’s a dude that owns the company, and he does what he wants. It could just be simple entitlement, see also a gross habit that he does because he can. Men will pee anywhere if they feel like it, or need to. I’m a house trained dude, but I know and work with plenty who aren’t.

    1. Observer*

      he’s a dude that owns the company, and he does what he wants.

      That’s actually a highly unlikely explanation. There are a LOT of entitled guys who think that they can do whatever they want, and even a bunch who actually manage to do what they want at other people’s expense for a long time. Yet, this is NOT normal. This is not how most guys throw their weight around.

  102. Ra94*

    I agree with other takes about potential cognitive decline being involved, but I haven’t seen a different take yet: could there be a sexual angle? It’s almost too gross to type, but he could be getting off on the idea of ‘exposing’ all of these female colleagues to his urine, and even pouring it onto OP’s hands, essentially. I really, really hope it’s not that, but it might explain how and why he’s SO brazen about it.

    1. Freelance Everything*

      Was thinking it could be rooted in a deep fear of public/shared bathrooms? With layered issues on top of that, or just no one has ever called him on it before so it’s become entirely normalized in his mind.

    2. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      That was my first thought: he’s doing this to deliberately upset the women in the office. Haven’t read the comments, but I’m surprised no one mentioned this.

      Don’t have advice for you OP – I would run and leave reviews everywhere I could, but I know that’s not always an option. Wishing you luck, hope it works out well for you and your colleagues.

      1. Observer*

        Actually something like this was mentioned. It doesn’t sound like the most likely explanation, though.

        1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

          Honestly, with some of the power plays I’ve seen from men/majority group, it’s always my first thought now: how would this action affect the people with the least amount of power in the situation?

          I agree there could be other explanations, though – haven’t seen an update from the OP but am very curious to know how this turns out!

  103. Sled dog mama*

    OP, my skin is crawling in sympathy (my little brother covered me in pee once so yeah)

  104. Storie*

    I’ll go you one further.

    In the late 90’s, my good friend worked as an assistant to an agent at one of the top agencies in Los Angeles. Amongst her duties was EMPTYING her boss’ pee cup when full. He couldn’t stop rolling calls long enough to go use the restroom. He wasn’t the only one who did this. (Almost every assistant in the entertainment industry at this time has at least one off not several completely demeaning stories like this, including myself, so I guess it doesn’t shock me! )

    1. Jo*

      No way… Emptying boss’ pee cup?
      She should have poured it over his head and said, ‘That’s it emptied’. But I guess that would come with a large risk of getting fired….

      1. Storie*

        Part of a culture of Hollywood assistants putting up with waaaaayyyyy too much in order to break in. This same friend had a stapler thrown at her head and the boss got a slap on the wrist from the grandbosses. The good news is, this behavior is not as acceptable today–more scrutiny and less celebration of abuse under the guise of “big personalities”. But we’ve got a long, long way to go.

    2. Working Mom Having It All*

      Yes, he could stop rolling calls long enough to use the restroom. This is a power play.

      It’s a demeaning story because it IS demeaning, and is not OK.

  105. AnonyMouse*

    I can’t wait for the update to this one. Also, potential Worst Boss of 2019 nominee?

  106. Observer*

    OP, you need to stop worrying about “what might happen.” If your boss is likely to amp up his insane behavior if you confront him, this is not a safe workplace.

    In any case, you should be looking for a new job. This is an absolutely untenable situation, and unless something changes, the business will suffer. If anyone asks you why you are leaving you could HONESTLY say “The owner was beginning to show alarming signs of deteriorating health. It wasn’t stuff that was noticeable to outsiders, but it made me worry about the long term health of the company.”

  107. Lady Phoenix*

    I have heard of gamer dudes and tech dudes that…Pee in bottles and poop in socks.

    It sounds like your boss is one of those gross dudes.

    My best suggestion would be to come together to tell the boss “Hey, bathroom is right there, USE IT! You’re being disgusting.”

    If that don’t work, GET OUT. This is a red flag that the company aint right.

    1. yala*

      I’m…I’m sorry, what was that other thing they did?

      I thought I read “poop in socks” but that can’t possibly be right.

      1. Lady Phoenix*

        Nope. We call it poopsocking or cat@ssing (because you get engrossed in a game so much, you forget daily chores like cleaning the litter box).

          1. Gazebo Slayer*

            Yeah, I’m familiar with the terms poopsocking and catassing, but pooping in a sock is SO MUCH GROSSER EVEN than dumping your pee cup in the sink.

              1. jenkins*

                This honestly seems like more effort/disruption than just going to the bathroom for a few minutes. How on earth does someone maintain focus while trying to aim a poop into a sock?

  108. CommanderBanana*

    My god.

    My immediate thought was that this guy has dementia. Bathroom….issues…is one of the signs.

    Either way, given that he’s the owner and it sounds like a family business, and this is so far out of the bounds of personal and professional norms that I think I’d consider leaving because I feel like Pee Cup isn’t the only weird thing happening.

    Also, I have worked in places where the owner or a senior partner or CEO developed dementia and they continued to work and it caused all sorts of problems but was not addressed. If this may be heading in that direction I’d consider looking elsewhere.

  109. theelephantintheroom*

    I saw the title of this and thought, “No, that is not what is happening.” And now I’m in shock. Just…WHAT???? This is, hands down, the most bizarre thing I have read on this site and I am SO looking forward to a follow-up.

  110. *Jim Carrey Vomit Face**

    I had to go wash my hands, come back, write this, and now I am going back to read the answer.

  111. Freelance Everything*

    Certainly seems like one of the roots of this behavior could be a pathological fear of public/shared bathrooms. Explains peeing in a cup and disposing in a kitchen.
    There are clearly additional things in play as he’s doing it so openly and pouring over dishes (ugh).
    Justifications aside, it absolutely needs to be addressed and stopped. And I do not envy LW that conversation. Hell, even performatively reacting to it is cringe to me. But it Alison is right that it needs to happen.

    1. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

      I always thought that kind of fear is of bodily functions + the public. The kitchen seems *worse* for that. But I know phobias don’t always work that way.

  112. *Jim Carrey Vomit Face**

    I’m really hoping for an update on this within the next seven minutes.

  113. So Many Questions*

    This needs to be stopped before he thinks it’s acceptable to ask an employee to empty his Pee Cup™️ for him. Does the Pee Cup ever end up in the kitchen cabinet? Has anyone ever bumped into him as he’s walking through the office with his pee?? Is it the kind of office where clients would be there and see the Pee Cup Parade??? Has anyone ever kicked the cup over when it’s sitting on the ground???? Has anyone purchased an opaque vessel with a lid that clearly says “Pee Cup” on it as a gift for him? Does he have female family members who could be notified of the situation?

    1. EH*

      The idea of the pee sloshing around and winding up on the floor/walls/coworkers occurred to me too. YIKES.

      The idea of gifting an opaque vessel with a lid that says “Pee Cup” cracked me up! I’d add “To Be Emptied Into The Toilet.”

  114. Carrie Flora*

    I have never, ever looked forward to a letter update more in my life. *Please update us next week oh please oh please oh please.*

  115. Floral Wraith*

    Ugh, this is just like “Pee-Gate”, a horrifying thing that came out of the last Canadian election where a Conservative MP was forced to resign after people sleuthed out that he was this plumber who was stung on a marketplace show on THE NATIONAL BROADCASTER a few years before the election. Google “Jerry Bance peegate” to learn more.

  116. Flash Bristow*

    It’s Other Point of View time! Please don’t judge me…

    I’m physically disabled. While working *on my own, from home* occasionally I couldnt get upstairs to the bathroom in time. So I occasionally peed in a pint glass then took it to the kitchen to clean thoroughly.


    I never peed when there was someone in the house or another option.

    I always cleaned the glass meticulously.

    And the sink.

    And was ashamed.

    So I can understand the need – maybe – tho being the boss he could assign himself an office closer to the loo? But then tipping it over your washing up? That is utterly inexcusable. It’s not so much the activity – although you can buy gel filled bags to pee in which solidify and can be binned, for true emergencies, so no need for a mug – but the lack of shame, the brazen openness? That is what gets me as being unforgivable.

    OP please do get your colleagues together so everyone is ready to shout “EW!” next time he does it, or whenever. This can’t go on. No question. Just – wow.

    1. Anonymous Poster*

      This sounds so different from the described situation, though. Accidents, one-offs, that would be one thing. Doing this on the regular is so, so different.

    2. Dasein9*

      No shame there. That’s need, and you didn’t pour it out on someone’s dishes.

      The morning after my ex broke his hip, I couldn’t get him to the bathroom in time, so brought him a jar to use. (Long story; the hip had been misdiagnosed on his ship and he was sent home. We got to the hospital that day. He was 13″ taller and 100# heavier than I.)

      1. Róisín*

        I was all gearing up to say “THIR.TEEN.INCHES.” but then I realized that there’s a 15″ difference between me and my girlfriend and she probably also weighs 100# more, so yeah okay I follow.

    3. Close Bracket*

      Your house, your pint glass. But why go to the kitchen rather than the bathroom? Just curious.

      1. Ciela*

        He said he is physically disabled, and the bathroom is upstairs. So if he had a very urgent need, he’d use a glass instead.

  117. Goya de la Mancha*

    I really wish you wouldn’t feel ashamed! We’ve all had accidents/near misses in our life for one reason or another.

    This guy is blatant about it and not taking steps to remedy the situation (based on the fact that it is still happening and cups are even left around the office) IF it even is medical for him.

  118. Elbe*

    I’ve heard this general story (though not typically in a professional setting) that I feel like it has to be A THING for some people. I’ve heard of a genuinely shocking number of guys who will go in container, leave it sitting around for other people to see, and then empty it later… even if they have full access to a restroom and doing this basically boils down to ‘convenience’.

    I honestly have no idea where these people got the idea that this is okay.

  119. EngineerMom*

    This is a straight-up power play.

    See the scene from Sherlock in the episode “His Last Vow” when Charles Magnussen pees in Sherlock’s fireplace just because he can, as the people of England are “too domesticated” to protest such blatant acts.

    1. EngineerMom*

      If this were accidental, or due to some medical issue, he would dispose of the contents of the cup in a toilet, and wash the cup in the bathroom sink. Dumping it in the kitchen sink, especially on top of dishes, is NOT socially acceptable, and if he doesn’t know that (early dementia, stroke dementia, etc.), dude needs to be removed from his position and given a full medical workup.

  120. LeahRPA*

    I want an update to this so badly!
    A boss this out of touch (even while being propped up by his family) must be awful

  121. RoadsLady*

    So, um, I backyard compost and I do in fact keep a piece left over from my kid’s potty chair to pee in for the compost because I’m earthy like that…

    This letter just ruined that for me.

  122. Jo*

    Gross gross gross ewwwwww yuck.
    I don’t know what else to say other than to suggest you say to your boss ‘What the F*** are you doing?’ the next time he tries to throw it on top of your dishes. Bleurgh….
    Also, I wonder how he goes for a number two? Hopefully in a more traditional way.

  123. seCURITIA*

    While I did security I regularly relieved a man at a gate about a mile or so from the nearest bathroom and the station could not go unmanned. On more than one occasion there was a cup of strong smelling urine that sat in the desk next to the clipboard we use to log vehicles and relevant information. I was instructed by my boss to write a sexual harassment complaint each time. He always said it was an Arnold Palmer (lemonade/icedtea mix) and would occasionally drink from the cup. I know for sure he used a plastic cup for that as well, but I’m also equally sure there were times he urinated into that cup once he was done with his drink and couldn’t get to a bathroom.

  124. jcarnall*

    Okay, I’m grossed out three times.

    First, because carrying an open cup of piss through the hall to the bathroom would be pretty gross. Excusable, sure, if he’s a 70-year-old man with prostate problems, but once he knows he’s going to have these kind of “need to pee NOW” situations in his office, the polite thing to do would be to get a covered container. And he hasn’t.

    Second, because dumping piss in the KITCHEN SINK while people are sitting EATING in the kitchen is even worse. Though possibly, if he’s 70-year-old man whose sense of smell is failing, he may be under the impression that his piss doesn’t reek and so no one will know it’s a cup of urine he’s dumping in the sink.

    But that would only work if no one were USING the sink and he was then careful to turn on the taps, rinse down the sink, rinse out his cup, wash his hands. Assuming an elderly man with mobility problems who has a hard time getting to the bathroom and no sense of smell and an uncertain bladder and prostate problems, okay… It’s still gross, but I can see how he’s getting there.

    But dumping his cupful of PISS on his employee’s dishes WHILE SHE IS WASHING THEM – there is no way to make that right. Even if the rest is excusable (and I don’t think it is, really, I just see how his male relatives might have told themselves it is) – that definitely isn’t.

    “EW, gross, Mr Yellow!” screams the employee loudly next time he comes into the kitchen with his reeking cup. “What IS that? It smells like PISS.”

    Have “Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir” playing as a soundtrack.

    “Keep it off your boots, sir, eats right through.”

    1. So Many Questions*

      I am the type of person who cleans their own dishes at work and never leaves them in the sink for someone else to wash. However, if the dishes I was washing suddenly had urine poured on them, which would collect, pool, and possibly splash, I would abandon them and either tell the boss on-the-spot that those are now his responsibility to clean or leave a sign calling out the boss with an arrow pointing to them and labeling the dishes and sink as a biohazard and surround the area with caution tape. “Biohazard warning: this is now the personal toilet for the boss. Do not use.”

  125. Cranjis McBasketball*

    is this worthy of a Retaliation [Fake] Bloody Tampon or no? i bet he’d think THAT’S gross while his urine is perfectly acceptable.

  126. Away Team Redshirt*

    *look of horror*

    Human language cannot describe the utter WTFness going on here.

  127. Anony*

    Welp, my office has a “Clean up after yourself!” sign in our shared kitchen space…looks like it’s time for a “Don’t dump your pee in the sink!” sign as well!

    1. Close Bracket*

      Like that 7-11 that had to put up a sign saying not to heat up pee in the microwave.

  128. Phil*

    I surely can’t be the only one who immediately thought of Simpsons with that title. “I can’t go to prison. They pee in a cup and throw it on you!”

  129. Hoping for An Update*

    I have never before, in my entirety of reading this blog (and it’s been years), ever wanted an update as badly as I do to this letter. I beg of all that is holy, that the OP sends us an update at some point!

  130. Trixie, the Great and Pedantic*


    Is… is this some kind of weird territory-marking thing?

  131. Napalm237*

    Could this man possibly have a bladder issue that prevents him from making it to a bathroom on time? Possibly too proud to take the responsible option (see adult diapers)

    Due to age this could be a possibility, and worth taking in to account when approaching the situation.

    1. Observer*

      Why? All of these excuses go out the window because of the fact that he is dumping this IN THE KITCHEN SINK. And, worse he DUMPED IT IN THE SINK WHILE DISHES WERE BEING WASHED!

      There is just no way that medical problems (unless we’re talking about dementia or something like that) explains that behavior.

    2. Quandong*

      Napalm237 this behaviour truly can’t be explained by a bladder issue. Many, many people have bladder issues and manage them without disposing of urine in a kitchen sink or pouring it on their employee’s dishes.

  132. Anonymous Coward*

    I recently reminded a colleague who was leaving the men’s toilet cubicles without washing his hands “have you forgotten to wash your hands?”
    He spent the next minute getting angry at me for “telling him what to do”, clenching his fists and insisted that he “hadn’t touched anything” while he was grunting in the toilet cubicle next to me for 5 minutes. Then he walked off to his office with his dirty hands.
    I’ve since found out he is director of another division of my company.
    I’m a temp and I’ve seen how useless HR are at this place, so I’m fully expecting recriminations and me to be the one who ends up leaving.
    I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that when your manager is weird about toileting, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of dysfunction.

    1. fposte*

      He sounds like a pig, but it really isn’t a good thing to advise other adults to wash their hands.

      1. Anonymous Coward*

        You’re absolutely right, in future I should just let people walk around with fecal matter on their hands.

        1. FairPayFullBenefits*

          But reminding someone to wash their hands really isn’t likely to make them do it (which is what it sounds like happened in this case). Even if the other person does wash their hands in the moment, they’re probably not going to any other time.

  133. His Grace*

    As a man, I am horrified and disgusted. Unless there is a medical condition that no one knows about, on what planet would this behavior be acceptable? OP, this merits a new job elsewhere and AAM, you have your 2019 worst boss of the year.

  134. Quandong*

    Years ago one of my ex-BFs developed a medical condition at the age of 42 and required the use of a catheter (which type of catheter and what condition are not relevant here).

    I’m here to tell people with no experience about urine collection bags that they are designed to be easily and hygienically emptied into a toilet by either the person wearing them, or a carer.

    IF (and it’s a big IF) the OP’s boss is having problems managing his catheter or urine bag, there are a lot of alternative actions available to him. And he would have been instructed clearly and repeatedly how to dispose of the contents of a urine collection bag!

    There is no reasonable excusefor the OP’s boss to dispose of bodily fluids in a kitchen sink. Use of a catheter in no way explains this foul behaviour. Something else is at play here.

  135. MsJaytee*

    I think everyone responding that it must be due to illness or disability should really take the time to consider why they think that unacceptable behaviour from the most powerful person in the workplace is likely to be a health issue.

    This is clearly a power issue, this guy does what he wants to show he can. He’s literally like a cat marking its territory. The workers either need to say something or leave.

    1. Shay*

      There are many far less bizarre ways for a man, and a boss, to “establish dominance” in the work setting. I’m sure Alison has some good letter to that effect.
      The reason people are considering its likely a health issue is because its so, so, so bizarre and outside of social norms.
      Power plays use social norms. For example, a strange and creepy man saying, “don’t I get a hug” when you want to leave. It’s nearly midnight here so I’m not going to list anymore, but I trust you know what I’m talking about. The power comes in the form of acting reasonably, in a socially acceptable manor, and with room for plausible deniability.

      1. MsJaytee*

        Really? Abusers only have one way to establish dominance, everything else must be due to disability? Are you kidding me?

        It shows how pervasive ableism is, you read strange and creepy and the only answer you could come up with is “disability”. Do you realise, not just how offensive, but how dangerous that attitude is?

        I wonder if anyone would’ve thought of cognitive or other health issues if he was the janitor and not the boss. I suspect not. I suspect if he was a man who did have a disability the LW was aware of, but wasn’t the boss, no-one would give disability as an excuse.

        It’s way too common for “disability” to be used as an excuse for non-disabled people to escape responsibility for their actions, and for other non-disabled people to keep that going so it serves their needs too. But actual disabled people are fired even if their disability doesn’t result in offensive behaviour.

        1. Shay*

          I am genuinely not kidding you.
          Will you please point out any other warning signs that abuse is happening to this letter writer. If the abuse has escalated to the point that he is pouring pee over dishes she is washing than I would expect other signs would be evident.
          And I do not see why a health issue wouldn’t be strongly suspected if he was a janitor. This is deeply concerning behavior. I don’t think you’re accepting that.
          There is also a anecdote further up of an older woman doing similar things with stool and urine. Is she also an abuser? I believe you just want to call this man an abuser because he is the boss and because he is a man.
          Being concerned for the boss’s health is not an excuse for his behavior. Perhaps your hostility toward him and other concerned for his health stems from being ignorant of this reality.
          I don’t know to what extent, if any, a health issue would impact the letter writer’s work with this person, however, it would mean that the solution to the underlying health problem his doctors being aware there is a problem. And the letter writer can inform his family that this is an issue so they can do their part in helping the boss seek treatment.

          1. Close Bracket*

            “If the abuse has escalated to the point that he is pouring pee over dishes she is washing than I would expect other signs would be evident.”

            There are other signs. The initial signs were that he dumps pee in the sink when nobody is washing dishes. Dumping pee in a place where other people prepare food *is* the abuse of power. Taking his genitals out in his office *is* an abuse of power. It is all an abuse of power even if he’s not raping his employees.

            It shows how pervasive ableism is, you read strange and creepy and the only answer you could come up with is “disability”.

            But actual disabled people are fired even if their disability doesn’t result in offensive behaviour.

            Yeah, pretty much. It is definitely true that people who are not straight white cis male bosses, or even just straight white cis males, don’t get nearly the same level of accommodation for weirdness.

        2. Observer*

          Disability here is not an EXCUSE, but a POSSIBLE explanation. That’s a very different thing. “Excuse” implies “look away”, while “explanation” (n this case) implies “either someone takes action about this or the business is going to implode.”

          No one is claiming that there is only ONE way for people to assert dominance. But that there are SOOOO MANY other ways – ways that would pleasanter for most people (even – or especially – scumbags) that this doesn’t make sense as purely a power play.

          Neither is anyone claiming that all people who have cognitive issues act this way. That’s just a wild leap.

          1. Close Bracket*

            Shay was claiming that there is only one way to assert dominance—by using social norms. Your claim, that since there are other ways to show dominance that this can’t be a dominance move, makes no more sense than Shay’s (And how exactly do you know how pleasant pouring his pee on top of someone else’s dishes is for this guy?).

            Engaging in egregious behavior and expecting others to look the other way and/or clean up after it is a way of asserting dominance. Whether it’s raping women a la Weinstein or Cosby or pouring your piss out in the sink while someone else is washing dishes, it’s an assertion that the usual rules don’t apply to you. That’s a not a disability, that’s just garden variety entitlement.

            And a lot of people are claiming that all people who act this way have cognitive issues, which is problematic enough on its own, for reasons that MsJaytee explained.

        3. Close Bracket*

          and for other non-disabled people to keep that going so it serves their needs too.

          This puts into words something that I was not able to put into words. Thanks.

  136. Staxman*

    In my college days I saw a guy pee directly in the kitchen sink at a fraternity house. It was Saturday night and he was most likely drunk. I say that to explain what he did, not to excuse it!

  137. JoB*

    I’ve haven’t had a chance to read all the comments so someone else may have suggested this but what about offering to get his lunch one day and then serving it to him on dishes he dumped his pee on.

    Wait until he’s eaten it and then tell him.

  138. Jones*

    [Is he so busy that the Jones account cannot possibly wait two minutes until he’s back ….?]

    I would hate to think of some of that stuff getting on the paperwork.

  139. All Outrage, All The Time*

    Not sure I can top this but I can at least equal it. In the 90’s I worked as a temp in a government office. One of the permanent government staffers had two identical cups on his desk. One was for his coffee and the other one was for him to spit into. He didn’t empty to spit cup until it was full of phlegm. I almost hurled every time I had to go to his desk and to this day I wonder if he ever picked up the wrong cup and drank out of it. I think I’m going to hurl now just remembering.

  140. flowergirl*

    If it’s okay for the boss to do, then it should be okay for everyone to do (not!)

    I would be tempted to pee into a cup, and leave it on his desk.

  141. NAWSbrat*

    Haven’t read all the comments here. This letter reminds me of a situation we had at my job in (I’m sorry) a grocery store where I used to work. I discovered a coworker was (again sorry) doing #2 and hiding it rather than using the bathroom. Talking to other employees, we suspect she was also hiding her urine as well (someone else found that). She also had an aversion to using the telephone. It was suggested that her behavior resembled the behavior of someone beginning to develop Alzheimers. It was as if she had forgotten how to use a bathroom and a telephone. This letter *really* reminds me of her behavior.

    1. QuinleyThorne*

      As soon as I saw “in his 70’s” that’s immediately where my mind went. And the family members in the office ignoring it is, from an employee perspective, egregiously irresponsible and flat-out disgusting. But from an outsider looking in perspective (and this is just the most charitable interpretation) the family ignoring it is a little heart-breaking.

      There’s a woman who lives in my building who has Dementia or Alzheimer’s (not too sure which), and has begun deteriorating at an alarming rate in the past six months. I’m talking going from “slightly too-talkative old lady who forgets her keys a lot but is otherwise perfectly nice” to “happened to show up at Walgreen’s in only a nightgown carrying bundles of her son’s clothes with no identification of any kind on her person and I just happened to recognize her” and ultimately culminating in “peed on a neighbor’s door because she thought she was still in her bathroom.” I, my husband, the leasing office staff, and about a dozen other neighbors have confronted him about her behavior, all coming from a place of concern for her safety, but he hasn’t done anything. And the thing is, I get it. We’re (concerned) strangers, but that’s his *mom*. We also don’t know what their financial situation is; it could be that he can’t afford the kind of care she really needs, and just has to make do with what he can.

      *If* this is a similar the case OP, still say *something* (because ew), but be advised there’s a really good chance you’ll get a lot of pushback from family members about this. If they’ve been told and nothing’s changed, you and your co-workers may have to either have a Come to Toilet-Jesus talk with *all* the family members, hell if you know family members that *don’t* work in the office, rope them in on this meeting too since the ones who work there have yet to act (normally I wouldn’t advocate this, but for god’s sake THE KITCHEN SINK????). But you also might just have to be prepared to look for other jobs.

      In my experience with this stuff, the family always knows, but are in denial about how to fix it, and there’s a myriad of reasons for that (money, time, other family members, etc). Because if this behavior actually *is* an indicator of an Alzheimer’s or Dementia-related state of mental decline, that’s an extremely difficult and heart-breaking thing to have to confront about a loved one, which is what can make this kind of tricky.

      Like I said before, at the end of the day, you all are just employees. The boss is *family*.

  142. Shay*

    Alison forgot an option — he could be a werewolf.

    (I think the The Werewolf’s Guide to Life had a passage relating to this, about the desire to mark territory and pee in your office’s trashcan.)

  143. Banana Pancakes*

    I haven’t seen anyone mention it yet, but urinary tract infections (UTI) are often mistaken for dementia in the elderly because they typically exhibit no other UTI symptoms.

    I pulled up a couple of quick links about this phenomenon:



    OP, if you see this, you should consider passing these links along to your boss’ relatives. It’s a simple test with results in under 15min and untreated UTIs can cause significant organ damage.

  144. Jaid*

    Soooo. Do you guys have an office coffeemaker? Where do you get the water from?

    And do you guys have clients visit? Do you offer them beverages?

    Just something that occurred to me this morning when I was making my own coffee…

  145. ForkMath*

    Not me but a friend: in college her roommate didn’t like going down the hall to the bathroom at night so she’d go into the closet, pee in a bowl, and pour it down the sink. All of the dishes were my friend’s so she was peeing in someone else’s dishes!!! My friend confronted her and she denied it but it kept happening. My friend resorted to keeping hidden, pee-free dishes.

    1. WellRed*

      I’d so want to lie in wait one night, and when she slips into the closet, leap out of bed and say “ah hah!” It’d almost be worth the fact that’ she’d probably pee all over the closet floor at this point.

  146. Shay*

    Also, I’m imagining the letter writer interviewing for a new job. And just… how on earth does she explain why she wants to run far and fast away from the last one? I know Alison has shared many canned responses to that question in the past but I can’t recall any of them as I reflect on the horror of this situation.

  147. cactus lady*

    I think I (indirectly) worked with this guy about 5 years ago. OP, do you by chance work at a large academic research institution in the state of Washington? Or do you work with a retired faculty member from that institution? I hope you do, because your letter has me TERRIFIED that there are two people like this in the world. I didn’t work directly with this guy, but his stories were legendary. He peed in jars in his office, KEPT THEM IN HIS OFFICE FOR PERIODS OF TIME, wet himself during meetings, the event where I met him he wore two left shoes (that were completely different from one another), got kicked off of the admissions committee for the grad program for erratic behavior towards applicants, and although I left that institution and now work across the country, I still hear crazy stories about him. There was no getting him to behave normally. I have no advice. But I can commiserate.

  148. I used to play with chemistry sets*

    Slipping the right acid-base marker into the cup when he is not looking – I recommend rubber gloves and tweezers for this operation – could be the most appropriate and hopefully effective office prank ever executed.

  149. Budgie Buddy*

    The letter about the person who poured drano in the sink showed up in the related links. I wonder if she used to work in this office and this guy is her origin story…

  150. yala*

    …lord i hope we can get an update on this letter, because it is going to HAUNT me.

  151. Ciela*


    My husband once had to do a 24 hour urine collection, and the samples needed to be kept cold, in the refrigerator. So yeah, one weekend he peed in a bright orange jug, and put it back in the fridge.

    But that’s different than pouring pee on *someone’s dishes*. WTF?

  152. Ba-Dump-Bump*

    Well, maybe the office group could get Kellyanne to talk to Melania about the boss’s problem!

    1. Never A Dull Moment*

      Oh, I’m 99% sure it is not fake. My boss does something similar except he pees on the porch of our office…he’s been caught doing it. We’re not a downtown location and not many people are around, but it’s still horrendous. It reeks outside and he just doesn’t care. And to the person who commented that the family of the OP’s boss knows….I’m pretty sure they do. My boss’ wife has told me stories about having to cover the furniture at home (boss wipes his hands on the furniture much like a 2 year old would), laundry, etc. Best we can figure is my boss simply doesn’t care and doesn’t want to take the time to go to the restroom.

  153. Beelzebub*

    I’m just going to play devil’s advocate….all of his behavior would be normal if it’s some kind of drink. What drinks are pee colored and stink….could it be kombucha or something?

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