Googlers seem to have a lot to complain about lately. But one of those complaints stood out to us from the rest.Google is removing Toto-brand bidet seats from its California offices after discovering they were out of compliance with the state’s code for commercial buildings. (Yes, for those who have never visited a Google bathroom, some of the company’s office toilets are blessed with heated seats and bidets.)
Google’s toilets have loomed large in the company’s imagination — and reputation — for over 15 years. Employees aren’t happy about the bidets going away: A widely upvoted meme that Protocol reviewed from Google’s internal meme page reads, “The removal of bidets in the office is my #2 issue with RTO.” (Google didn’t return several requests for comment.)
According to a maintenance ticket reviewed by Protocol, Google has started removing the bidets from Bay Area offices, with other California sites to follow. (“We’re going to need to lobby to change the California building code,” one employee joked to Protocol. “I want the bidets.”)
When an employee challenged the bidet removal decision in a reply to the maintenance ticket, citing the environmental and hygienic benefits of bidets (linking to a tip from Google’s own sustainability team), facilities professional Edgar Tovar responded that Google wouldn’t be replacing the bidets.
“The bidet seat removal has the added benefit of supporting Google’s water sustainability commitments,” Tovar wrote. “Many of our buildings are migrating to recycled water systems which cannot support bidets.”
Employees don’t seem overly supportive. Yasmine Evjen, a developer relations manager based in Google’s San Francisco office, tweeted last week that she had heard about the bidet removal on the meme page, and that they might have been removed over a compliance issue with California’s building codes. (“I’m upset,” Evjen wrote of the rumored bidet removal in a now-deleted tweet.) Another Twitter user posted in October that working at Google “has zero appeal for me” with the heated bidets gone.
Update: This story was updated on March 28, 2022 to clarify that a tweet has been deleted since the time of publication.