Man sacked for using toilet while cleaners were there and not flushing toilet

A factory worker has been sacked for ‘harassing’ cleaners by going to the toilet with the cubicle door open – and without flushing the toilet afterwards, an employment tribunal has heard.

Peter Capodici also ‘insisted’ on using urinals as staff attempted to clean them and ignored requests to use other toilets.

Bosses sacked him for his ‘anti-social behaviour’ towards the two cleaners, and Mr Capodici took his former employers to court, arguing he had been told he could not use any other toilets and that didn’t understand “why this is a problem”.

However, an employment tribunal has now ruled he was fairly dismissed and showed a ‘remarkable’ lack of understanding of why his actions were ‘problematic’ for the cleaners.

The hearing was told that Mr Capodici had worked as an ‘assembler’ for Guildford-based Transformers and Rectifiers Ltd for six years and that the cleaning of the premises had been contracted out to a cleaning company.

In July 2019, two housekeepers, a woman named Kopila and a man named Bishnu, filed complaints of “harassment, intimidation, bullying and anti-social behavior” by Mr Capodici.

Although the couple intended to report the matter to the police, company bosses assured the couple that the complaints would be handled internally, the court heard.

An investigation was opened and a meeting in July laid out the allegations against Mr Capodici.

Bosses told him he had been accused by cleaners of ignoring signs and being ‘obstructive’ by ‘deliberately using the urinals’ while they were being cleaned, ‘using the toilet cubicle with the door open” and leaving “without flushing” while they continued to clean in the toilet.

The court, held in Reading, heard the behavior went on for ‘several months’, with Mr Capodici admitting he used the facilities while the cleaners worked ‘five or six times’.

But Mr Capodici argued he had been told not to use any other toilets and told bosses: ‘[I] don’t understand why this is a problem…’.

He added: “There are a lot of normal people who all have to do a drain before they start work – that and blow their nose. Are you telling me I can’t go?”

A typed statement about the incidents dictated by the two cleaners reads: “Peter was informed that the toilets were being cleaned…he replied that he had to go.

“Peter went to use one of the cubicles without closing the door. Peter used a lot of toilet paper and threw it in the toilet bowl and left without flushing the toilet.”

Mr. Capodici was suspended later that month for his actions and invited to a new disciplinary hearing, after which he was sacked.

He then appealed his dismissal, which was upheld.

Dismissing his claims of unfair dismissal, Employment Judge Rebecca Eeley said: “Mr Capodici unnecessarily used the toilets, including the urinal, while the housekeeper was present to do her job.

“The experience would have been unnecessarily intimate and embarrassing for the cleaner [who] was clearly distressed and upset by the incidents.

“Mr. Capodici’s lack of insight into why his actions were problematic, both then and afterwards, was quite remarkable.

“The application of a little common sense would have shown him that there was no absolute ban on workers in the workshop using the other toilets.

“If a member of staff was desperate to use the facilities because they were ill or in danger of getting dirty, no reasonable employee would have thought that they were prohibited from using the other toilets rather than risk a” unfortunate accident.

“Mr. Capidici’s claim for unfair dismissal fails and is dismissed.”

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