People Are Sharing The Most Utterly Ridiculous Rule That They Ever Had To Follow At Work, And Wow, Most Of These Bosses Should Be Fired

    "My boss literally told us to 'judge a person' — like, look at their shoes and how they're dressed — before you take a check from them. When one customer's check did bounce, my boss pulled money out of my coworker's paycheck for "misjudging a customer.'"

    I recently shared some of the ridiculous rules that I had to follow when I worked at a theme park. I figured other people probably had waaay more interesting examples of unreasonable workplace rules than I did, so I reached out to the BuzzFeed Community and asked them to share the worst rule that a boss ever tried to enforce on them. And they did NOT disappoint. Here are some of the strangest, most ridiculous, and most pointless rules that people shared:

    1. "I worked at an all-male company. Eventually, they started bringing in a few women to be more inclusive. There were about four women and 50 men. A month in, we had a meeting and were told that the women couldn’t sit together or socialize both in and outside of the office, especially at lunch, because we were 'creating a clique.' We also weren’t allowed to discuss 'women talk' (hair, makeup, cooking, yoga, and fashion) as the men came to work to 'get away from their wives.' The company 'rewards' included things like going to a strip club, football tickets, etc. We were told we couldn’t go because it was meant to be a reward for the men."


    A group of women and one man looking disappointed

    2. "I worked at a law firm as a legal assistant. I only lasted two days. Why? Because they charged you $25 each time you didn’t answer your phone…and they only paid you $7.25 an hour."


    3. "I worked briefly at a pound shop (dollar store). The manager always called me 'Rachel' (not my name) and insisted that I had to wear my hair in a high ponytail because I was blonde and it 'looked better.' Sure enough, all of the other staff members with long hair could do whatever they wanted with their hair, but not me."


    Customers at a store looking disappointed

    4. "Back when I worked at a call center for a popular internet service provider, we had to raise our hand and get permission from a supervisor if we needed to use the restroom. They treated us like we were kids in grade school. I quit that job as soon as I could."


    5. "Back in the early '00s, when paying with checks was the norm, I worked at a sandwich chain. My boss literally told us to 'judge a person' — like, look at their shoes and how they're dressed — before you take a check from them. It really made no sense because it was usually the rich-looking people that had checks bounce. But when one customer's check did bounce, my boss pulled money out of my coworker's paycheck for 'misjudging a customer.' I told them that was illegal and that they should give my coworker her money back. The next day, I was fired for not noticing a rogue piece of chicken teriyaki that was left under the pop machine after closing. I turned them in to the BBB, and they were forced to return her money — plus fees."


    Screenshot from "Home Fries"

    6. "I was interviewing for a position with a woman who started her own cleaning business. She told me there were two things that were grounds for immediate termination. The first one was, since she didn't believe in having anything with sugar, that all drinks were banned from the office except for water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee. The second was that you couldn't have Post-It notes of any kind. I laughed, thinking she had a unique sense of humor, but the look I received from her was anything but comical. I walked out of the interview after telling her she was a little too controlling."


    7. "My boss made it very clear that jeans were against the office dress code during the hiring process. I was surprised to see that many employees outside of my boss’s team wore jeans, but I still stuck to her dress code. One day during my first week, I wore paisley-patterned slacks and was called into her office almost immediately after clocking in. With a very exhausted voice, she politely reminded me that jeans were not part of the dress code. I insisted that I wasn't wearing jeans. It got to the point where she put her face up to my thigh while touching my slacks to see if the fabric truly wasn’t denim. She finally agreed that I wasn’t wearing jeans but also instructed me to never wear these slacks to work again because 'they looked too similar to denim.' This was only my second job, so I followed suit."

    "A few months later, she left our workplace, and my new boss, who commonly wore a t-shirt and jeans to the office, always commented on how well-dressed our team was. It turns out my old boss made up her rule of no jeans in the office just so she could say her team dressed better than everyone else."


    Screenshot from "The Office"

    8. "I worked for a place that specifically stated in the employee handbook that women could not wear scrunchies in their hair, only clips. And they also weren't allowed to wear open-toe shoes without painting their toenails first."


    9. "I had a manager once when I worked retail who didn’t want us to use the word 'help' for some reason. So, we couldn’t ask customers if they needed help; we had to come up with some other way to say it. One day, my coworker, obviously flustered at this rule, struggled to come up with something on the spot and blurted out, 'How can I service you today?' I had to leave the sales floor, I was laughing so hard."


    Screenshot from "Empire Records"

    10. "The owner of where I worked hated musicals for some reason and forbade any conversation relating to musical theater. I once got yelled at for sharing a situationally-appropriate anecdote from my theater kid days."


    11. "I used to have a boss who didn't make rules per se, but rather very strong suggestions. When writing letters to clients, we would never use the word 'pleasure,' as in 'it was a pleasure meeting you today,' because 'pleasure' was a sexual term to her. She strongly suggested that women in the office NEVER lean on a desk because it looked like a sexual pose. No bra should ever be visible under a blouse because it looked sexual. Women should wear camisoles under their blouses or never take their jackets off. There were many other things she strongly suggested we never do, but it was weird that so many innocent things seemed sexual to her."


    Screenshot from "Life Size"

    12. "I worked at a call center where almost half of the employees were bilingual in English and Spanish. These workers were deliberately recruited because we had plenty of Spanish-speaking callers. A year or two after I started, management implemented a new rule banning employees from speaking to EACH OTHER in Spanish in the workplace, which was pretty obviously due to paranoia that the employees were talking about the management behind their backs. To be fair, sometimes they were, but then so were the English-only speakers. To this day, I'm not sure if that rule was even legal, but it definitely was discriminatory."


    13. "Back when we used to go into the office, we had a weekly staff meeting. Our boss made us go around the table and each talk for five minutes about what we were working on. He had an hourglass with sand in it. If you went long, he would interrupt, say NEXT, and flip it over for the next person. If you didn't say anything, or finished early, then everyone had to sit there and stare at the hourglass or you. It was weird."


    Screenshot from "Criminal Minds"

    14. "I was once told by my boss that if anyone from corporate comes in and starts asking about our breaks — specifically why I'm not taking a 15-minute break after I've been there five hours — I'm supposed to tell them that I 'chose' to work through my break. In actuality, I don't get a break because my boss refuses to schedule anyone to be there to cover for me. If I have to pee? Make sure there are no customers, lock the door, run to the toilet, and be back behind the register within two minutes. Got your period? Oh well."

    "No one from corporate has ever been in when I'm working, but you can fucking bet I'm not lying to them just to make my boss look good and stuff her pockets with bonuses."


    A woman at a counter

    15. "I worked a scheduled 12-hour shift on Mondays. If a federal holiday fell on a Monday, as many do, I was required to take four hours of vacation time because the 'holiday' was only eight hours. The business was closed for the holiday, so I couldn't work even if I wanted to, but I was still required to burn those vacation hours every time."


    16. "I've worked in hotels for 10 years. My first job out of college was in a management position at a hotel. My division head insisted I wear heels. I was on my feet for 10-12 hours a day...on marble. Cruel and so outdated. This was about 15 years ago. Hopefully, he's gotten with the times."


    A woman icing her feet with her heels in her hands

    17. "I was not allowed to have a gap between my shoes and the hem of my slacks. Despite the fact that I wore more conservative clothes than anyone in the office and was always professional, somehow, flashing my ankle was the most abhorrent, distracting offense I could make when it came to my boss. Mind you, wearing heels and slacks with nylons, while having a job that required sitting while working with clients, well, not having a gap is a little tricky. But no, one day I even had to have my spouse bring me a different pair of pants because my boss was so offended, he couldn't stop staring at my ankle. Turns out the rule was strictly personal based on his religious beliefs, my gender, and the fact that he believed women shouldn't be in the work place to begin with."


    18. "I think one of the stupidest, most pointless rules I had to follow was 'The Windows of Contact' rule at a coffee shop. Basically, we had to make small talk with every single person in line...always. The line is 30 deep on a Monday morning at 7 a.m.? They still expected you to do this. It slowed us up so much, and everyone got dinged for it when we got secret shopped. When it was slow, sure, "Sharon, what's going on today? What's good, Mike? Nice shirt, Luis, where'd you get it?' But not during a rush. Come on! It stated in the handbook that we should spend three to five minutes PER CUSTOMER to make us more personal than a coffee chain. Many customers hated it, too. They wanted their coffee and were in a hurry to leave!"


    A barista making small talk with a customer

    19. "I had a restaurant manager make a rule that servers were not allowed to wear makeup unless they wore makeup every day. If you rarely wore or never wore makeup, you were not allowed to wear it because it would 'disturb' the regulars. Coincidentally, I had just learned how to apply and wear makeup and had just started to wear makeup to work so everyone knew this was about me. I couldn't decide if I looked too good or if she didn't like the way I wore my makeup. I quit not long after that."


    20. "The owner of the company I worked for was so tight with money that he didn’t want to spend anything on cleaners. So, he would get the whole staff, from managers to receptionists, to stop their actual work for two hours every Friday morning to clean the whole office. I found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing toilets."


    A man scrubbing floors

    21. "I worked in a hotel when I was in my early 20s. I had many friends from school who also worked there. However, they introduced a rule that I, an HOD (Head of Department), wasn't allowed to socialize with anyone 'below me' and I could only socialize with other HODs. I remember asking, 'So, I'm not allowed to hang out with friends I've had longer than you've been open, but I can hang out with the 62-year-old maintenance manager?' They replied with, 'Yes, that would work.' I didn't stay there for much longer."


    22. "As an employee of an insurance company, we had to account, on a spreadsheet, for every minute of every day. Each task had to be logged with how long it took to accomplish, how many we did, etc. We even had to account for bathroom breaks. If one day we did 10 items in 15 minutes and the next day we only did five, she would question us on the discrepancy. Everything was timed. She also made us save every single email she sent to us, and out of the blue, she would ask for a certain email she sent two years ago to make sure we had it."


    A man working at his computer

    23. "When I worked for a small law firm, the lawyer and I had the same first name. She would not let me use my name at work, so I took on a female version of my husband's name. She said she was afraid of a client mistaking me for her and telling me confidential things. It was the shadiest place I ever worked. There were all kinds of weird stuff going on at that office."


    "I was told to change my first name at work because the boss had the same first name — so it was already 'taken.' Terrible boss."


    24. "I worked at a small family business, and it was kept clean by the family. We weren't allowed to throw away trash from our lunches. The owner made us take it home."


    "Did you see the memo about this?"

    25. "In order to 'grow the business,' we were forced to 'like' every company post on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. One of my colleagues didn't do it and got a nasty email from the CEO questioning why she didn't care about the business. Yikes!"


    26. "I worked at a chain restaurant where the women had to wear a very ~specific~ uniform. If you didn’t fit the uniform due to weight gain, you would be talked to and put on probation or suspension until you lost weight."


    A woman working in a sports bar

    27. "The owner of the company I worked for fancied himself the new Tony Robbins. We were forced to go to retreats and share our most traumatic childhood memories. We also needed to journal regularly, and he would randomly read sections of our journals. This was to ensure everyone was in the correct 'headspace' and not bringing any negativity. At one retreat, he brought in his personal psychic, and everyone had to have individual sessions with her. No one was allowed to skip it, even for religious reasons."

    "There were also multiple evening and weekend events we needed to attend, alongside our spouses/significant others. I worked there for four years and ran like hell the moment I got another opportunity."


    28. And finally, "No employees could use a red pen because the deceased company founder had forbidden it. He was the only one who could wield a red pen. Even after his death, this rule persisted."


    Screenshot from "Liar Liar"

    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    What's the worst rule a boss ever enforced on you? LMK in the comments!