25 Infuriating Workplace Rules That Made People’s Blood Boil

Published 2 weeks ago

Most of us admit that while rules in the workplace are annoying, most of them actually make sense. Many of these rules are in place to keep employees safe, efficient, consistent and professional. However, some company rules may cross the line from functional to irrational.

When user ‘OkCommunication5404’ started a conversation on ‘Ask Reddit’ about the most absurd rules people have encountered in the workplace, netizens eagerly responded. Scroll below to read about some of the most ridiculous rules that have been enforced in the office, according to people’s experiences.

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#1 I got in trouble for having my 16 yo daughter walk behind me while having a zoom meeting. By my manager who had her 7 yo walk in, ask a question of said manager at which time she stopped the meeting to answer her daughter’s question. I was actually written up for mine. I quit on the spot after being written up and went on a tirade against the manager. No regrets.

Image source: Vivid-Soup-5636, Anna Shvets / pexels (not the actual photo)

#2 At one job, we had a rule where no one could adjust their own office chairs. If you needed it higher, lower, or tilted differently, you had to submit a maintenance request. This wasn’t just annoying; during busy periods, it could take days for someone to come adjust your chair. It felt absurd sitting uncomfortably while waiting for ‘authorized personnel’ to make a simple adjustment.

Image source: mikewalkwalk, Andrea Piacquadio / pexels (not the actual photo)

#3 I used to work at a daycare. The kids were not allowed to scribble. If they were going to color they had to be attempting to color inside the lines.

I did not enforce that rule. I’m not gonna stop a three year old from scribbling. .

Image source: Famous_Lab8426

#4 At a manual job I had standing up for 7 hours per day in a hot and sweaty factory floor during a 10 minute unpaid break we were not allowed to sit down. We had to stand up right next to the seats provided for break use. The seats were only to be used for the later unpaid 20 minute lunch break.

Meanwhile the managers who created this rule sat down all day in an air-conditioned office drinking coffee.

Just one example of management logic and motivation of the workforce. Not the way to get the best from your staff.

Image source: Prize_Catch_7206

#5 We had to directly confront shoplifters. Like go up and get in their faces

Shockingly, a coworker got stabbed.

Image source: LeatherHog

#6 At one my earlier jobs, I had to follow a lunch bell like I was in school. Except I worked in the lab and sometimes the testing I had to do made me miss the lunch bell and so I would eat later. People reported me. So I ended up delaying testing to meet the lunch. Production went down a lot, but at least I followed the lunch bell.

Image source: curryp4n, Mizuno K / pexels (not the actual photo)

#7 I was once told I wasn’t allowed to drink out of a water bottle while working without a doctors note saying that I needed to. I was a minimum wage cashier at a grocery store. Was a pretty funny Doctors appointment that followed.

Image source: Denveckles, Ketut Subiyanto / pexels (not the actual photo)

#8 I once had a job where we had to ask permission to use the restroom, even during breaks.

Image source: BriannaGem, Tim Mossholder / unsplash (not the actual photo)

#9 No using the bathroom if there are patients waiting to register ( which was all the time)
We had to wear full strength pads and pee in them while sitting and registering patients.
No drinking anything ( even water ) in front of a patient registering …
Had to text the front desk to beg to go to the bathroom and it would take 20-30 minutes for a reply.
Yep .. turnover rate as a registration rep at a hospital is crazy.

Image source: clothednudist70

#10 Thankfully this is from a friend and not me, but a friend who did office work explained to me this unwritten rule that nobody left the office before their boss did, despite them having set working hours.

Image source: PM_UR_NUDES_4_RATING, Tima Miroshnichenko / pexels (not the actual photo)

#11 I still think requiring a doctor’s note for an excused absence is stupid. I’m not going to waste money on a doctor’s appointment, if I have a cold or the flu.

Image source: SnooChipmunks126, Tima Miroshnichenko / pexels (not the actual photo)

#12 People who discover a spill have to stand next to the spot until maintenance comes back with a broom/mop. As the only one working maintenance I got b*****d at in this order: “There’s a spill, you need to go get the mop”. “Why did you go get the mop? You are supposed to stand next to it”. When I said, “maybe you should hire a second maintenance person then”. The look on her face every time I said this was priceless.

Image source: RoseWould

#13 Women had to wear foundation, lipstick, mascara, eye liner, eye shadow, blush, earrings, rings, bracelets/watch, hair flair, necklace, and manicured nails. men: tucked in shirt, no neck beard, don’t stink.

Image source: An0nymousAnal, Adrienn / pexels (not the actual photo)

#14 You cannot call the police, even when a client has already verbally threatened and physically assaulted another employee.

Image source: WeirdcoolWilson, Taylor Grote / unsplash (not the actual photo)

#15 In my very first adult type office job, I was responsible for ordering catering. The first time I ordered, I got sandwiches and salads. I got a green leafy salad and got chewed out by one of the VPs. She explained to me that eating greens in front of clients made us look weak and I was only to order macaroni and potato salads (which I guess show strength?).

Image source: seanofkelley

#16 “We are going to need you to be on call every other weekend, but you will not be paid for that” I left shortly after.

Image source: No-List5793, Scott Graham / unsplash (not the actual photo)

#17 I worked for a store manager who “rounded by three.” I said, “no, you have to round by five. 0-4 is rounded down, 5-9 is rounded up.”

“No,” she insisted. “It doesn’t matter what number you round by as long as it’s the same number every time.”

“No, see, if you round by 3, then 0-2 gets rounded down, and 3-9 gets rounded up. That’s nearly twice as likely to get bad rounding errors.”

“Listen, I am a trained educator with two school-aged daughters. I know my math. You men think you know math so much better than women.”

Yet every Monday, when I called in the numbers, they didn’t match what the district manager had. That manager was eventually demoted to a penalty store. When I told the DM the “rounding by three” they said, “that’s technically fraud.” She was later fired from that penalty store in an audit.

Image source: punkwalrus

#18 Having to wear nylon stockings (aka panty hoses) with your dresses. No bare legs. Lol okay, I just dated myself. This was in the early 80’s.

Image source: panda_lover_59, ALINA MATVEYCHEVA / pexels (not the actual photo)

#19 I worked for the Anaheim Ducks at one of their ice rinks. I was allowed to wear a hat but it had to be plain. I learned this rule when the manager told me to remove my Ducks hat. Again, I worked for the Ducks.

Image source: the_salsa_shark

#20 I worked in an upscale flower shop during college and we weren’t allowed to sit, even when the store was empty, which it was for the majority of the day, since most people called in. So all the chairs were essentially decorative because we had to ‘look busy’ for the customer that wasn’t there I guess.

Image source: doseofsense, Amina Filkins / pexels (not the actual photo)

#21 If someone was banging on the door before opening time we had to let them in. How about no: im getting my computer up and running, making sure the waiting room is tidy, getting my coffee and taking a s**t. That door isnt opening until our office hours begin.

Image source: coreynj2461, Bayram Yalçın / pexels (not the actual photo)

#22 No talking during lunch breaks.

Image source: Racheltrysyew, logan jeffrey / unsplash (not the actual photo)

#23 I once worked in the call center of a large company where we were treated like s**t and got none of the perks the other departments did. We had to work holidays. We were subject to a “point system” where we got points for any lateness – even if it was 1 minute past your start time, or absence – even though technically we had 5 sick days a year, and could be fired at 5 points, etc, while the rest did not. The entire company except us was taken on all day picnics and other events at least twice a year. Etc. The icing on the cake though was the day the fire alarm went off in the 25 story building and as everyone started for the fire exits the department manager and head of HR yelled for everyone in the call center to return to their desks, as it was “only a drill.” Half of us left anyway and likely would have been fired had the building manager not gotten furious and pointed out to the head of the company that it was illegal for us to remain in the building during a fire drill.

Image source: SunGreen70

#24 Worked at a bakery where if we were there, doors had to be unlocked. Even if the store was closed. Even if we had no food. We also weren’t allowed to tell customers if the store was closed.

Image source: Ready_Shock_7462, Davide Baraldi / pexels (not the actual photo)

#25 Not a work rule but a rule in a place I do work at. I was giving a talk about awareness of violent crimes and what services exist to help victims (Aka the charity I work for). I was just getting set up in the hall when I realised I needed my anxiety meds and inhaler before I got started.  One teacher who had brought her class to the hall early, came up to me and demanded I put my inhaler away. I gave her a confused look and explained it’s for my asthma like no I’m obviously not putting it away it’s medicine. Also I’ll be not even 2 minutes chill love. She then said “the school has a strict no d***s policy” luckily the headteacher had come back at that point and saw the confusion and said to the teacher it was fine. But yeah that’s how a teacher wanted me to not have my inhaler because it obviously wasn’t medication and I’m obviously not an adult.

Edit: few folk are curious I’m 23 at the time I was 21 so I definitely looked young enough to be student. Only issue is here in the UK school uniform is really common. Also when giving talks I where my work ID lanyard around my neck. It’s bright orange and has my charities name on it so you’d be pretty thick to get it confused with a school ID badge.

Image source: Strange_Syllabub_700

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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absurd rules, job, office, office rules, policies, ridiculous rules, rules, work
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