10 Crazy Workplace Rules You Won't Believe

Every workplace needs some rules. They are what prevents employees from clocking in late, getting drunk at their desks, and for the most part, they are designed to ensure productivity. However, sometimes rules cross the line into absurdity.

Reddit recently asked its users for examples of absurd rules that were enforced in work or school environments. The result ended up being thousands of replies from people everywhere, with examples that ranged from no sodas outside to safety goggle protection when using staplers. From Business Insider and Reddit, here are 10 of our favorite rules in workplace environments that quite possibly cross the line from necessity into crazy land.

1.  No Illegal Beards

A “legal” beard is a certain length and if you want a moustache, there are rules regulating the combination of both a beard and a moustache. If you happen to decide to grow a beard, you need to leave work for a couple weeks until it has grown to a legal length. And do not under any circumstances, show up with mutton chops.

Beard at work

2.  Only Moustaches Allowed

At this job, the choices are either no facial hair at all or a full grown moustache. If you happen to be in between facial hair phases, you are required to leave work until you can return with a full moustache. No half staches allowed.

3.  Do Not Eat Leftover Food

It has been mentioned that a great deal of food in restaurants is wasted. In this particular example, the employee was reprimanded for letting co-workers take home leftover food at the end of the night. Instead, it was to be thrown in the dumpster and when asked what would happen if employees took it from the dumpster, she was told she should report them.

4.  Under 25% Fluorescent Shoes Only

An employee was sent home because he had shown up to work wearing his new green Chucks and was also told to never wear them to work again. The reason was that the shoes were more than 25% fluorescent.

5.  Carrying Boxes Will Not be Tolerated

An employee was eventually fired for carrying around too many boxes of paper. The rule was that all boxes must be pushed around on a dolly, even when carrying boxes of paper to refill the copy and/or fax machine.

6.  No Hats Even in the Winter

Many businesses also do not allow hat wearing, but this example happened to take place in a warehouse. No employees were allowed to wear hats in the warehouse, even in the winter time.

7.  No Popcorn…Or Else

“Where I started working about two months ago, there’s a serious, strict ‘no popcorn’ rule.” Apparently this rule not only included popcorn that was cooked and brought in from other places but popcorn popped in the office as well. The reason given by the boss had something to do with the difficulty in talking on the phone while eating popcorn.

8.  Evaluate the Models but Not On Attractiveness

A booking agent whose job was to evaluate males and females on their potential to model noted that the employee manual explicitly barred evaluating the models based on attractiveness.

9.  The Un-Referee

A replacement referee for 6 and 7 year old soccer was restricted from making calls of any kind. This included goal kicks, corner kicks, out of bounds calls and even if one kid hit another. It was explained that children need to “learn the game themselves” and “negative reinforcement” would ruin the game for them.

10. Underwear Must Be Worn At All Times

One rule at a company was that undergarments must be worn at all times but not visible. Apparently going to work commando was not permitted. However, one might wonder how to verify one part of the rule without breaking the other.

There are many other strange rules that companies and schools enforce. If you have some free time, check out the thread at Reddit.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! What is the weirdest rule where you work? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments!

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(Photo Credit: By Mexican 2000/Flickr)


  1. 19 Daniel Grandfield 27 May
    Having to pay for a PRS and PPL music licence, even though you play no music to guests in a hotel. Its Because of room TV's which has copyrights even though you pay a TV licence fee
  2. 18 Greg Bulmash 11 May
    IIRC the underwear rule and moustache only rules were Disney. There was an article on it when they implemented the underwear rule at "The Pond" (where the Anaheim Ducks hockey team played)
  3. 17 Sandy 31 May

    No perfume is NOT a stupid rule - even if you are not working with the public, your co-workers may be very allergic.  I know that I am, and get very sick when I have to be around perfume.  People do not understand how awful it is when they do not have allergies like that - but you sure would not like having a headache, nausea etc all of the time because of scents your coworkers DO NOT NEED to put on to go to work.  It is not like we are asking you not to wear clothing or take a bath!

  4. 16 Lil Employee 28 May

       well i have to say, some are frugal, but i have never witnessed it at this extent:( no breaks, holiday or differential pay, parking, AC and we're responsible to dispose of the business trash!!!

  5. 15 outrgs 25 May
    our workplace has a rule in the company handbook which states that music at any workstation is not allowed and here is the one that had us in stitches "singing out loud is  not permitted"
  6. 14 Lyn 20 May

    what about no perfume in the workplace.  Most Healthcare facilities have this rule for employees that has direct contact with patient, what if you don't have direct contact with patient because your department is an ancilliary service dept can they mandate?






  7. 13 Rob 20 May

    Employees must be supervised when making toast at our place, after someone managed to burn toast and set off the fire alarm.  

  8. 12 Erik 19 May
    The no easting for restaurants makes total sense.  In college I used to work in a concession stand at the arena and we were allowed to take home the extra hotdogs at the end of the night until one of the mangers made 150 too many dogs and just happenend to be having a party that night.  No more free food after that.
  9. 11 Susan C 19 May

    I was a nurse and worked nights at a hospital whICH had to ban popping corn because someone burned the popcorn, set off the fire alarms in the middle of the night; this was NOT a good thing!  also the aroma would wake the patients up...many who were unable to eat anything; smelling popcorn when you can't eat is just plain cruel.

    Also one night the house supervisor came to tell us we could not wear dangling earrings;  the hoops in her ears were at least 2" across.  Hmmmm.

  10. 10 Matt 18 May

    The "no eating leftovers" rule makes perfect sense, and not just to "corporate office types" as one person commented. I was a restaurant manager for several years and allowed the employees to eat leftovers until I caught employees deliberately loading up the warmers so they could eat free after closing (and take it home to families too). My food costs dropped significantly when I enacted and enforced the rule.

  11. 9 Muhammad 18 May
    Just work in a muslim place, and you'll have plenty of screwed up rules you must follow...
  12. 8 Corrine 18 May

    I worked in a company where coffee and tea drinking was forbidden for all employees. After someone accidentally burnt some popcorn in the microwave, all popcorn consumption was also forbidden. Water was not provided. (Eventually they relented and put some water coolers in, but did not provide cups.) Men are required to wear ties five days a week, and the wearing of blue jeans is strictly forbidden, even if you came in on your day off, or worked in the loading dock or the mailroom. Jeans of colors other than blue were acceptable because the owner couldn't see well enough to determine whether the pants were jeans or not. There was no "casual Friday." (This is a a Silicon Valley high tech company!)

  13. 7 Clayton Blackwell 18 May

    I work in a Private Security company. The company has a "no beards" rule in the uniform dress code. To enforce it the Owner can "and will" literally dry shave you if you even show up with stubble.


  14. 6 Tim 18 May
    The "no eating leftovers"is actually a very common thing for  restaurants have such a thing in place. Corprate office types feel it cost down on the "accidental" waste of employees making too much food, then taking it home with them.
  15. 5 idreddy 18 May

    Offical Dressing wearing all times and respect the office decoram.

    Each employee has to keep in mind that you are representing an organisation culture and its past years effort to come upto that stage,which need to take up ahead.

    Keep and maintain always work place is for work not for anything else, which haveing some rules/regulations must strictly follow by you and all others.  


  16. 4 William Wallace 18 May

    How about... No music? I had a job which required a lot of driving in a company car. One guy did something dumb and next thing you know, all the radios were pulled out of the cars and a "no music while driving" rule was put in place.

  17. 3 Sanjay 17 May

    Though practice no 3 sounds weird but eventually it curbs the bad habit of deliberately cooking more food than required, either for self consumption or distributing it to others. who knows one might charge employees under-table   for subsidized food.

  18. 2 Sue Mullins 15 May

    I once worked in a place where the restroom was for "number one only". If you had to do "number two" you had to do it on your own time outside of the workplace.  

    Another place I worked at had explicit instructions on how to flush the toilets posted in the stalls in the restrooms.

  19. 1 Sue Mullins 15 May

    I once worked in a place where the restroom was for "number one only". If you had to do "number two" you had to do it on your own time outside of the workplace.  

    Another place I worked at had explicit instructions on how to flush the toilets posted in the stalls in the restrooms.


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