Have you ever seen a rule somewhere that was so oddly specific it made you wonder what the story behind it could be?
1. "No popcorn. I work at a financial company, and not once, but twice, someone burned microwave popcorn during end of day processing and caused the building to evacuate. Every once in a while, a new person is cooking some up, and I just imagine the talking to they're about to get."
2. "Only one personal item in your office. I worked in a financial institution so customers came into our offices. This rule was put in place because of one lady who had her office packed with trinkets, including a handful of dolls."
"Yes, creepy dolls. Come and get your auto loan. Also, don't worry, we have some dolls here to witness your transaction."
3. "A video game company I worked for provided free snacks and sodas. One Friday, HR had just done a shopping run and was bringing in a truck load of junk food. One employee was caught sneaking a case of soda out of the parking lot. He wasn't fired or disciplined; it was just made public why the perk was ended. He quit shortly afterward and attempted to sue for a hostile work environment. That went nowhere."
4. "I worked in an office that banned listening to music. They said it was consuming too much bandwidth. Unfortunately for management, they didn't tell IT that it was really a productivity issue. So people talked to the IT guy, and he was like, 'WTF no. At peak utilization, we aren't even at 60% bandwidth.'"
5. "At a restaurant where I worked, you needed a manager override to make any price adjustments, remove items, or process certain cash transactions. This was done because another service found a way to discount their own meals or something. Anyway, this was a huge problem for everyone because there were only two managers in the whole restaurant, and often only one was on shift at a time."
"When it would get really busy, which happened almost every night, it was next to impossible to get a manager to help you out. Oftentimes they'd scream at you for asking for help; meanwhile your tables are getting pissy because they've been sitting there for 15 minutes waiting to cash out, and I can't do anything about it.
So between my managers yelling at me and getting stiffed, the job was absurdly stressful. I quickly put in my two weeks and got the fuck out."
6. "We used to get a free beer after our shifts at a pizza restaurant I worked at, until the manager’s little brother got in a car accident after work (he ran a red light or something). That was fun while it lasted 🙃."
7. "One person downloaded a free student version of some software instead of the version that the company paid for. It almost cost the company a decent amount of money. Now everything is locked down on everyone's computer to the point that I can't delete desktop icons without having an admin."
8. "All social media and streaming sites are now blocked on work computers, because someone spent all day on social media and watching movies while at work. Also, the Sick Room and Quiet Room are now locked because a certain slacker keeps hiding in them. They've been 'hiding' in the glass meeting pods ever since."
9. "No skirts, shorts, or skorts, at all. I used to work in a bar, and the dress code was simple — just wear black. Didn't matter what it was, as long as it was plain black. In the summer, the girls used to wear skirts or shorts so that they weren't uncomfortable, and everyone was fine with it. Then a new guy got hired in July 2021."
"It was very hot, so people had skirts on. He kept taking pictures under the girls' skirts and of their thighs. He was caught many times, but instead firing him, they just banned skirts. Thanks a lot, Martin."
10. "The safety briefing at a job site explicitly stated that hard hats were not to be used as weapons."
11. "We used to have casual Fridays and people could wear jeans. One day, a girl came in wearing sweatpants that had 'Juicy' printed across the butt. The CEO happened to be visiting our location that day, and he saw her. Casual Friday was immediately abolished, and it took years for them to forget Juicy Girl and reinstate it. But in the intervening years, they would have fundraisers where you could buy tickets for days that you could wear jeans."
12. "No hands in your pockets. We were waxing the floor, and I slipped on a cord. I couldn't catch myself because my hands were in my pockets and smashed my knee on the tile floor. The whole school district of about 40 schools got that rule."
13. "No sneakers. One manger was obsessed with this girl who was 30 years younger than him, and her commute was two hours long. She would wear sneakers to commute and change shoes at the office. She sometimes forgot to change them out, and he must have gotten sick of her turning him down, so he mandated a no-sneaker clause."
14. "We are not allowed to put our genitalia on the copier anymore. Thanks, Dave! To answer everyone’s questions, we were probably never allowed to, but because of Dave, it has now been talked about and included in the employee handbook."
15. "A place where I used to work gave out turkeys for Thanksgiving. Then an employee accidentally dropped his on his foot and tried to file a suit against them for some ridiculous amount of money. No more turkeys."
16. "I worked as a cashier, and supposedly a superior or whatever came to look at the store one day and said that cashiers/floor employees having water bottles up front is not good. So we weren’t allowed to have water bottles out on the floor anymore. If we wanted water, we’d have to go to the back. Cashiers talk to so many customers a day, and we’re going to get thirsty, of course. We all thought it was a stupid rule."
17. "All the plates and cutlery in the staff kitchen were thrown away because washing up was left dirty in the sink. It's bring your own cutlery and plate if you want to eat there now."
18. "Someone must’ve replied all one too many times because my work flat out removed the option to reply all to an email."
"I used to be a teacher, and all the emails in the state were connected. Well, about five years ago some genius managed to hit a reply all TO THE ENTIRETY OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN THE STATE. Anyone with an email that worked in any capacity for public schools got this email. What followed was such a horrendous amount of people hitting reply all to tell others not to hit reply all that the email servers had to be shut down for the rest of the day just to stop it."
19. "I worked at a little on-campus coffee cart, and we had a tip jar. I was working with a girl who usually worked at the other location, and she reached into the tip jar saying she had to feed her meter and grabbed a fist full of coins. I called the manager to report her. The next day we all got an email that tips were no longer allowed. The girl didn’t get fired (well she did later, but for something completely unrelated)."
20. "Famously known as the 'Ray Rule,' we were only allowed to have one alcoholic beverage at work events. Why? Because an intern named Ray got way too drunk at an event, nearly drowned in a nearby river, and had to be carried home. Probably a good idea to only have one drink at a work function, but our work threw some awesome events with open bars, which would’ve been fun to utilize. Thanks a lot, Ray."
21. "We're not allowed to fly paper planes in the office. I work in finance, and yes, it was my fault. My aim is terrible, and my plane 'crashed' into a manager from another department who had no sense of humor."
22. "I used to work in an office with 3 women and 15 men. One day the three of us girls went to lunch together, and when we came back, we were berated and told the girls were no longer allowed to go on lunch breaks together because, 'Nobody was here to answer the phones.' Apparently only women know how to answer a phone...?"
23. "When I worked at a fast-food restaurant, one of the janitors at our store was terminated because one of the managers caught him having sex with a hooker in the dumpster area. Ever since that happened, we couldn't go out to the dumpster area to take the trash out without a supervisor."
24. And finally, "It is explicitly stated in our official travel policy that pornography rentals are not reimbursed travel expenses."
Is there a rule at your work that only exists because somebody messed up? Share it in the comments!
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.