Japanese financial giant Nomura is seeking permission to install fewer toilets for women than for men on the lower levels of its new headquarters at Worldwide Plaza.
The reason for the request, which is being spearheaded by a group of the building’s owners led by George Comfort & Sons, is that the building’s lower floors, where trading takes place, are presumably male-dominated.
The owners of the building want the “water closets and lavatories” on these floors to be divvied up 75/25 because, for “certain financial-services operations,” the population is historically comprised of 75 percent men and 25 percent women.
The owners are trying to use historical data to prove why their 59-story West Side tower should be exempt from the city’s plumbing code. The code requires that the number of toilets for women be equal to the number of toilets and urinals in men’s restrooms.
The buildings department required the owners to file a “Plumbing Fixture Distribution Restrictive Declaration” in order to get approved for a new Certificate of Occupancy. After being signed by a Comfort exec in October, it was filed with the city earlier this month, reports NY Post.
According to the document, if any of the fourth through seventh floors is no longer leased by Nomura, equal restroom treatment would be restored. Robert Brubaker, the program manager for the American Restroom Association, said normally the arguments for restroom inequity involve places like prisons and dorms.
“This is the first time we’ve heard it from a business,” he said. “They could get into a thing where they say they can’t hire more women because they don’t have enough toilets.”
“No American company would dare ask for this,” he added.