Question of the day: What is the most outlandish company policy you've ever heard of?

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From Today's RBC Daily:

Yesterday I read an article about a Norwegian financial firm that adopted a new policy that has employees outraged. This new policy monitors how long employees are in the restroom. Yes, you read that correctly. Employees are allowed eight minutes away from their desk in the workday for restroom breaks, cigarette breaks and personal phone calls. I'm sure we all understand the need for focus and productivity, but this might be going a bit too far. You can find the entire story on this HR nightmare on Time. This might be hard to top, but.....

Question of the day: What is the most outlandish company policy you've ever heard of?

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There used to be a recruiting firm that dictated what make and model of car employees at different levels in the company must drive.  If you were a recruiter and drove a BMW, you were forced to drive a less prestigious car because BMW's were driven only by management.  If you were a recruiter who drove a Ford Focus, you had to upgrade your car, but were given a short list of options, such as a Toyota Camry or Ford Explorer.  The company did nothing to help employees meet these standards, but it was a condition of employment.  I can understand requiring a certain level of automobile professionalism when driving clients around, but forcing people to trade it cars to meet a company policy seems absurd.

A company that I consulted for in New Orleans had a mandatory policy that vendors donate to the political campaign of the owner's wife or no longer supply the company.  She won election, but the company is now bankrupt.  

A company I used to work for had several policies like those mentioned that were a bit overboard.  The one that irked me the most though was regarding business attire specifically for women.  Women were only permitted to wear business suits with skirts, and the skirts had to come below the knee.  In addition, women had to wear high-heels- not flats, not boots, or the like- only heels.  Yes, it was at-will employment, but I'm happy to not be working in a 1960's environment!

AT&T local management in this area required employees to be at work and on time when the streets were so icy that DPS and Police were begging people not to get on the streets. Gov. Offices, including post offices were closed as well as schools and daycares. Many employees were forced to leave small children at home alone or babies with neighbors. The ones who refused or were unable to find a neighbor to care for babies were written up. The manager was out of town did not have to drive on the streets herself and refused to accept reports that law enforcement was all but ordering people to stay off the streets. Those who were late due to being stuck in ice, snow or involved in accidents were also written up as being "tardy".

Lunatics who risk people's lives and safety for business needs to sell DSL for AT&T ...go figure.
PS...the day I heard about the lunatic policy by AT&T I moved phone service and Internet services for five phone lines and two locations away from AT&T as did several our people that i told about it. Outrageous company policies can cost companies the business they should value. And I placed several employees who felt it was the last straw of outrageous policies.

Bear Stearns was a customer in NYC and they had a famous policy , straight from Ace Greenberg the CEO, of never purchasing paper clips or rubber bands.  

Of course. a better policy may have been not to invest in the secondary mortgage market

Companies who have a rule that they cannot consider an outstanding candidate until that candidate officially applies online expressing their interest in a specific job at the company--do not understand the concept of a truly "passive" candidate.

Such a policy will do more harm than good if they think all gainfully employed passive candidates will simply drop everything, jet over to their front door, hat in hand--wagging their tail, just to have the opportunity to interview with an employer about a job they only just recently heard about.

Yes, some passive candidates are ready to job at the next best opportunity, but some are more cautious about getting their resume out on front street. 

When some HR type reads me the riot act about this lame rule, that can be accommodated at a later date--if there is mutual interest, it reminds me of the the book and movie Catch 22.

...my very own Firework Art.  I call it "CATCH 22 - The Muther of All Conundrums"

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