Workplace Rules That Drive People Mad.

Starting a new job can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, but in a few cases it can be extremely frustrating. Especially getting used to all the specific rules about that workplace environment.

Redditors shared the most frustrating and ridiculous rules from their own workplaces. Maybe keep an eye out for these at your next interview.

Source at the end of the article, comments edited for clarity. 

In theory we are allotted 3 personal absences a year - which cover "unforeseen circumstances" like a family emergency, car troubles, sick kid, etc. But in order to be approved you need to get consent from the manager in advance. No one that I know has ever actually been approved in advance for their unforeseen emergency.


I once needed a pen. I figured this was a reasonable ask. I went to the supply closet on my floor, which was locked. So I asked the floor's admin, she told me to go to the main supply room in the basement. 

I went to the basement and explained my situation of needing a pen. They told me all requests for supplies must be approved by my department head. Problem is, being new, I'd never met my department head. 

She also worked in San Francisco (I worked in Milwaukee), so I needed to send an email both introducing myself, and asking her if I had permission to get a pen from the supply closet.


All recreational activity is forbidden on company time & resources... Except fantasy football.


Two weeks after I left my previous job a memo went round saying people aren't allowed to look out of the windows at work anymore.

It's a big glass building.


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I used to work for a large bank. We had an attendance policy that was so complicated it actually created an incentive for employees to take an entire day off rather than be tardy too often.


We can't ask others if they want to come grab a coffee in the break room.


We have a lock on the first aid kits. So if you just need a band aid for a cut, you have to get the key from the Safety guy. Which in turn makes it a " reportable accident" with mountains of paperwork and investigations. We use an unbelievable amount of duct tape now.


I drive valet. The company handbook says you're never allowed to back up. Ever.

You absolutely cannot do the job without reverse. It's impossible.

It's in there because of liability and our insurance policy. This way it can always be the valets fault if an accident occurs.


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I used to own a pest control company. One day I walked into one of our bays and found a technician licking the inside of a cap from a bottle of herbicide. When asked he told me that he just wanted to know how it tastes. I told him that any future pesticides will taste like unemployment and created a no ingesting pesticide rule complete with signs.


All the extra toilet paper in the building has to stay in a single closet where it can be overseen by the "toilet paper queen". I heard her shrieking the other day when she discovered someone had "hoarded" one spare roll of toilet paper upstairs so the people who work upstairs wouldn't have to walk down multiple flights of stairs when the toilet paper ran out.


A rule that said "if you have time to lean, you have time to clean" which fairly obviously meant if there was no work then you should be cleaning things. It was at an aircraft servicing station that was fairly small, but we needed a crew of at least 3 people for larger planes. 

The problem was that sometimes there were just no planes, so there was no work. We would clean for a couple hours and then just run out of stuff to clean, but according to management, that was no good - we had to be busy! It got to the point that we would fight over work when it came in because everyone was so bored, and finding pretend busy work was much much harder then just working.

I remember getting the crew together to pick up pebbles off the taxiway for a couple hours. There's an old joke in aviation "go sweep the taxiway!" so we actually did it.


I used to work for a place in Ireland and their toilet breaks were crazy. Maximum of 10 minutes a day but also a max of 20 minutes per week. You had to change the status on your computer so everything was recorded and some managers would call you out on it and even go as far as threaten your job.

I had an understanding with my manager and told him if I need to go, then I'm going for it. Like any good manager he just told me that as long as I give him the numbers he wants then I could do what I want.


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When I was in the military I saw a buddy of mine sitting outside crying. I went and consoled him best as I could - apparently he was just depressed and unhappy. 

After he was feeling a bit better I went to go and find someone to tell them what was happening. They knew. In fact, he had been crying so much lately that they had instituted a 'no crying at your desk' policy - which is why he was outside.


Empty inbox

My boss was an inbox Nazi, like if you had old emails in there he would flip and make you respond to them or delete them. Apparently you shouldn't have anything left at the end of the day, deal with them or delete them.

Jokes on him though, I just made a subfolder marked "personal" and everything went in there.


If you were literally :01 seconds late clocking in, even hours before the store opened, it was a really, really big deal. 

You'd not only be formally written up, but lectured like a child often times berated even. If you were tardy three times, bye-bye. HOWEVER, if you no-showed and then called 2 hours later saying you were sick?—okay, thank you, feel better. This trained everyone to just take a sick day instead of being half a second late to work.

 I can't tell you how many times you'd see a coworker screeching into the parking lot before work after fighting traffic from a wreck or whatever, noticing it was 8:01, and then slowly driving off to go home and feign being sick. 

This was particularly upsetting when it was a pulldown stock week when we needed every hand on deck but had unusually early shifts.


My workplace doesn't let you use the word "problems". Instead, we have to say "challenges" if something is wrong. As a problem is a negative word, and challenges promotes the fact that there is room to fix said problem...


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I don't know if it's standard, but I worked at a place where HR wasn't allowed to tell us if someone was fired. It was a big enough place that you might not immediately realize someone had left and, when you found out, you weren't supposed to ask why. 

So, if you wanted to know if they were fired, you asked, "Was there cake?" Which was to say that, if the person had retired or left pleasantly after a number of years, they would be given a party with cake. If they were fired, not so much.

"I haven't seen Brian for some time."

"Brian no longer works here."

..."Was there cake?"


I'm a Fireman, our Risk Management department decided long ago that poles were too risky for us. So we use the stairs. We have poles. 

Anyway, now the newest rule is no free in NO free weights to work out and stay fit. 

Go into a burning high rise? Absolutely! Walk around the station carrying 40lb dumbells? Too risky


If you are 1 minute late it is a tardy. If you take a half day nothing goes on your record. 

I was told to just take a half day if you are going to be late because they straight up fire you for tardies. Also if you clock out early, it is a tardy. If you have to go to the doctor on lunch break and it is going to take and hour and ten min, take the rest of the day off. 



Old job of mine in a warehouse. Our stations were pretty far apart, so when we'd listen to music we'd all usually have our own stuff playing. Not a problem since you could barely hear the neighbours music. 

Well, the CEO didn't like hearing multiple songs when walking through the warehouse. He made a rule that we all either had to listen to the same music, or none at all.


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Do not put half used sweeteners back in the sweeter tray. Throw them away.

I work with adults.


I worked as a call receiver. We NEVER saw a customer. We were only on the phones with them. 

Rule: Your hair must only be a natural color. 

I dyed my hair the same exact color that someone from a different shift had and I was reprimanded. I told them that if the rule is not enforced for everyone, they couldn't single me out. Their reasoning for letting the other person have that color but not me...mine was my real hair, dyed an 'unnatural' color; hers was a weave that could be changed very easily.

Really?! Then why hasn't she been asked to change her hair?

They gave up trying to convince me they were in the right.


My agency has a nine-page document detailing how, where and when someone can make and consume microwave popcorn.

Nine pages.


Business casual dress code even when I work at home. (They Skype me to check.)



Whoops. That snip was just a hair too far....

Your first bad haircut probably made you want to die a little when you looked in the mirror. Imagine how the person cutting your hair must have felt. Although, maybe they didn't care at all, as evidenced by the bs excuse they gave you when you finished in the barber chair.

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