Last Friday, the Associated Press reported that Halliburton Co., Dick Cheney's former employer, maintains separate bathrooms for Westerners and Albanians at its Kosovo work site (click here to read the story). The AP quoted several experts who knew of no precedent for the policy and claimed to have no guesses about the reasoning behind it. Halliburton later released a statement saying the separate bathrooms accommodate "differences in how each group uses the facilities." What "differences" support Halliburton's segregated bathrooms?
Albanians customarily squat rather than sit when going to the bathroom. Ordinarily, they use squat toilets--slightly raised platforms--for defecation and urination. If no squat toilets are available, they squat with their feet on the toilet seat. Because Westerners object to sitting on toilet seats that others might have soiled, Halliburton keeps separate facilities. However, Halliburton doesn't allow Albanians who wish to sit on seat toilets in the Western style to use the "Western" bathrooms.
Many companies with intercultural work forces make both seat toilets and squat toilets available in their bathrooms. Halliburton provides only seat toilets, hence their segregation.
[After this item was posted, Explainer received the following clarification from a Halliburton spokesperson: "Any Kosovar who chooses to sit on a toilet uses the same toilet as any Westerner."]