coworkers standing around in an office
Pexels | Pexels

18 Annoying Work Rules That Were Created Because One Person Blew It

I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of rules, especially when it comes to job environments. Have you ever been told to do something that made little sense and wondered what the story was behind it?

As it turns out, many employers end up putting rules in place just because one person did something dumb. So when a Reddit thread asked people, "What stupid rule did your work have to make because one idiot ruined it for everyone?" the responses were both funny and shocking.

This Snack Thief

7 different soda cans
Unsplash | Jonny Caspari

"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."

Oh, that's not cool at all. Am I right? What a jerk.

This 'No Popcorn' Rule

popcorn in a bowl
Pexels | Pexels

"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."

Have you ever smelled burned popcorn coming from your workplace's kitchen? Oh, yeah. There's always that one person who sets the timer wrong and ruins it for everybody.

This Sad Office

a man listening to headphones bopping his head with his eyes closed
Giphy | PeacockTV

"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.'"

Listening to music was the only way I could get through my last office job — enough said!

This Tight Computer Rule

person typing on a laptop
Unsplash | Christin Hume

"Had one person download a free student version of software that they used instead of the one the company paid for. 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."

Oh, that's going overboard, no?

This Grinch Move

The Grinch with the words "4:00 - Wallow in self pity."
Giphy |

"The restaurant I used to work at used to hold annual company-wide Christmas parties (it was a local chain with 4 restaurants throughout the state). One year the owner got into a fistfight with someone, so they ended the open bar. A year or two later, a couple got wasted and drove home and got their car stuck on the Amtrak tracks and shut down Amtrak for 4 hours. No more Christmas parties after that."

Oh, come on! How mean is that?

This Social Media Ban

person on the computer and phone with Facebook open
Unsplash | Austin Distel

"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."

This office sounds fun, right?

No More Employee Discount

woman crossing her arms with written words that say "no more!"
Giphy | The Block

"I was hoping for an employee discount at a Japanese grocery store. However, someone from the past has abused the employee discount in order to give low prices to their friends. Management found out, and they effectively just took the employment discount away. Thanks a lot, asshole. You effectively deprived me of the one thing I was hoping for in that stressful and boring job."


This Vengeful Move

red sneaker against a blue background
Unsplash | Kris Gerhard

"No sneakers. One manager 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."

What an ass!

This Tedious Training

Steve Carrell from The Office saying "This is the worst."
Giphy | The Office

"One person complained that he wasn't 'trained properly.' We all now have to do this massively long training workbook during our shift, along with morning weekly quizzes we have to do with training questions. Everyone. I'm pretty sure no other company does this. It's been weeks and I'm still not finished with it."

Yup, there's always "that" person.

This No Tipping Move

tip jar
Unsplash | Sam Dan Truong

"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)."

That's pretty unfair, no?

This Sexist Rule

woman saying "Wait. What?"
Giphy | Disney Channel

"I used to work in an office with three 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...?"

OMG, what? That's just sexist, period!

This Fast Food Work Order

people working at a fast food restaurant
Unsplash | Marcel Heil

"No eating in front of the customers on our break. I worked fast food at the time and it wasn't uncommon for my coworkers and me to sit in our lobby, close to the registers so we could jump back into action if needed. One day, I was sitting at one of those tables, having my lunch break when a customer came in. He gave me a dirty look and when he went up to order, he told my manager that he didn't like seeing his employees being lazy and eating where the customers could see. My manager was very calm and polite while dealing with him and basically said, "Dude, wtf my employees aren't animals."

"Come my next shift, my manager told us that corporate got a complaint about us eating in front of the customers and we were no longer allowed to take our lunch breaks in our lobby. We either had to sit in our cramped office or eat in our cars."

Why do people have to do that?

This Total Turkey

The soup nazi saying "no soup for you!"
Giphy |

"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."


This Dumb Rule

water bottle
Unsplash | Steve Johnson

"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."

Oh, I feel bad for these poor employees here.

This Lost In Translation

Hillary Duff saying "Speak English, please1"
Giphy | YoungerTV

"Everyone has to speak English because one lady thought people were talking about her in Spanish (they were!)."

Oh my goodness, hee-hee. I guess that will teach them from now on, eh? But it sucks for everyone else.

This Casual Friday Fiasco

woman wearing Juicy velour sweatplants
etsy | Desireeworld

"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."

Oh, that sucks!

This Creepy Behavior

Amy Schumer putting her hands up in confusion
Giphy |

"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're not uncomfortable while working and everyone was fine with it."

"A new guy joined in July of 2021, and it was very hot so people had skirts on. He kept on taking pictures under the girls' skirts and of their thighs. He was caught many times but instead of him being fired, they just banned skirts. Thanks a lot, Martin."


This Interesting Rule

man at copy machine
Pexels | Pexels

"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."

OMG, I'm laughing so hard!

So did you get a good laugh?

woman saying "makes no sense."
Giphy | Sara Dietschy

I mean, some of these workplace rules are going overboard, that's for sure. Have you ever had a person ruin it for everyone else at your job? Or were you the one who actually did that? I bet it wasn't the same working at the place after that, huh? I don't envy these folks, at all.