Your Least Favorite (or Favorite) Policy

by Evil HR Lady on May 26, 2010

I’m sure over our time in the working world, we’ve all run across some bizarre policies and practices. And some good ones as well. I love to hear about the craziness some companies foist onto their employees. So, I’m going to encourage you to tell me what you’ve run across.

As a little incentive, our friends at the New Yorker have offered 5 (yes 5) Desk Calendars. Granted, they are 2010 calendars, but we’ve still got 7 months left in 2010 and the cartoons never get outdated.

Evil Marketing Man has agreed to be the judge on the best/worst policies. He also said that if you prefer, you can write an HR related Haiku. Marketing, apparently, does strange things to your brain. I don’t know what will be most likely to win, so take your best shot.

The contest ends June 1, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. That gives you one week.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura May 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I once worked in a travel office where, when casual Friday was introduced, Manager Yvonne strictly forbid her underlings, er, I mean, her staff, to wear jeans because their butts looked better than hers.

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Joe Fox May 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm

For our employees who travel, they are allowed to use their company provided cell phone for one personal call per day… and only one.

Riiiiiight.

Fortunately, it's not an enforced policy, but it's still there, and that's the interesting (and occasionally frustrating) thing about working for a large company.

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jenmaree May 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm

This is my favorite policy at my current job: you get 5 free stamps a week to use for personal mailings!

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Charles May 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Counter-grade inflation is the best description. The most frustating "policy" that I ever encountered was at my first job that had a "professional" review.

My immediate supervisor told me that she wanted to mark everything as "exceeds" (the top level out of 5 grades) since I had found many new ways of improving the work flow, etc. But the Department Manager said that since this was my first evaluation and because I was still on new-hire probation the best that I could score, according to policy, was "satisfactory" (the third level out of 5 grades).

I pointed out that since policy stated that "satisfactory" was the highest I could be rated the higher ratings should not even be on the evaluation form. He said this was company policy and that I should feel proud to have gotten the highest score available for a new hire. (still, remove the higher scores from the form, dammit!)

It was kind of like earning an "A" but due to counter-grade inflation I was given a "C."

P.S. I checked with HR and, yes, this was, in fact, their policy.

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Dillettaunt May 26, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I worked at backwards IT company that demanded we attempt to contact customers and update each ticket once an hour-regardless of circumstances. This included calling every client in the New Orleans area every hour to let them know their internet was still down in the days following Katrina.

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Anonymous May 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Maybe this is common, but I bet it's not: at my place of employ they offer 12 weeks of FMLA like they're supposed to, but they give you 60% pay the whole time, plus they pay all your accumulated sick leave and personal time first.

It's dandy – really makes up for the fact that our wellness policy means I had to sneak a soda in by putting it in an opaque beverage bottle.

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Monkey May 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I worked for a regional bank with over 2,500 employees. In our department only, a policy was implemented that we could not order calendars of any type from the office supply budget. Not even a desk calendar. Why? Because when people quit, they took the calendars the company paid for.

Because no ever took pens, paper, staplers and all the other office goodies people pilfer during their last week of work. It was the calendars the manager was all concerned about!

So I really need to win this contest. I need a calendar.

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Ben Eubanks May 26, 2010 at 8:53 pm

My company has recently released a special addendum to the bereavement policy that says that the company can send flowers for a funeral… If the person who died is a specific class of family member.

We're no longer allowed to send flowers to employees as a sign of support unless the person who died was within a certain number of chromosomes of their own, basically.

Blarg. What a load.

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Anonymous May 26, 2010 at 9:27 pm

"No email Friday":
a new arbitrary rule.
Our Thursdays suck now.

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Anonymous May 27, 2010 at 12:55 am

Office dress code memo in my first job, as a new graduate in 1992 (before casual Friday became popular):

Men must wear black socks with black shoes. No other shoe colour or sock colour is permitted.

Women may not wear trousers in the office.

There may have been others, but these are the two I remember.

PS If I win, Monkey can have the calendar. I'm self-employed now so bought my own, but my previous employer stopped issuing calendars and diaries when they upgraded to MS Outlook.

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i no longer work there May 27, 2010 at 1:36 am

A few years back I worked for a small company with about 15 full-time employees. Our boss lived in the building next door to the office. She refused to keep the printer and photocopier/fax machine in the office, so if we needed pick something up off of the printer, fax the client or photocopy, which we did frequently, we had to walk into her home to do so… which was weird especially since she had kids and a husband who were annoyed by this setup. Very dysfunctional office!

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ML May 27, 2010 at 4:10 am

I worked in a place where giving two weeks notice was not acceptable. The minute you knew that you were looking for a job you were supposed to let them know so, they could make proper arrangements to train a replacement. The Director of Operations (who later became a VP) screamed at me because she was sure that I was looking for a new job and that it is inconsiderate if I planned on only giving two weeks of notice and I should let him know some as I started to look for another job. Most people would have issues with the fact that I was looking for a job. Big surprise that this company had (and continues to have) a very high turnover rate.

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Jenny May 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Management Training Haiku #1

Performance review:
Form filled. Box checked. Pass / Fail. Done.
That was easy! …right?

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Anonymous May 28, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Our office was fraught with "gossip" (not actual gossip, but employees talking to the CEO about concerns of theft, bullying, and an Executive Assistant who shared information about people's pay rates and garnishments with the whole staff). As soon as the CEO realized that she was in danger of losing her job over the cover-ups, she immediately instituted a "no gossip" policy, which stated that no two people could be in the lunch room at the same time, in the bathroom at the same time, or on their breaks in the building lobby at the same time. Also, there was no conversation allowed at people's desks of a personal nature.

What a nightmare. Forgetting all the illegal things that were going on there, having to look around and see who else might be in the bathroom and trying to time your pee sessions so that you avoid others is really irritating.

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Teri May 29, 2010 at 4:22 am

I once worked under a dress policy that mandated that women employees had to wear pantyhose. I was invited to a management meeting, and I asked how this policy was going to be enforced – who was going to check that I was wearing pantyhose and not knee-highs. Every man in the room squirmed.

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Anonymous May 31, 2010 at 3:59 am

A fried of mine works for a company that recently sent out a notice saying employees could not work a second job outside the company. Normally, most companies say you can't work for a competitor or moonlight in a position that harms the reputation of a company, which makes sense. But my friend's company says no second job, period. You couldn't be a restaurant server, sales clerk, or take freelance graphic design jobs in your own spare time!

The problem is that the company also issued an across the board 25% pay cut for everyone (not because of financial problems; the company is doing well, but the owners feel they can implement these extreme measures because the job market is bad and they don't think their employees will be able to jump ship anyway).

For some of the lower-pay employees, the option to take a second job may mean the difference between putting food on the table and losing their homes. Naturally, there is no loyalty to the company anymore and a large majority of employees are quietly looking for new jobs right now.

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bilalmujtabakhan June 2, 2010 at 9:37 am

Hay there You are absolutely right that what is the problem to the management that if they are doing 2 jobs at the same time.If theya r eso concerened with the employees thenm why not they increase the salary or the compensation they are giving to the employees,
The thing is that the employee is crushing his bones while working 15 hours a day to have some money for children and for himself, while not using a penny of resources owned by the company, then what is the problem?????
can any one explain this things??????

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Anonymous June 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I know the contest is over, but I've got one.

Where I work, employee contributions for medical insurance are based on annual salary. Someone who makes $25,000 a year pays less per week than someone who makes $80,000 per year. We had to write a policy that allows an employee to take a voluntary pay cut if it means they would pay less for their medical insurance. We wrote the policy at the insistence of exec mgmt, for one employee in particular, who is no longer with the company! Explain that policy to the person who makes $25,000….

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Evil HR Lady June 10, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Sorry for the delay. Evil Marketing Man has been traveling, but I have the winners now. Please send me an e-mail at evilhrlady at gmail dot com with your address (and real name) and our New Yorker Friends will send you your calendar!

Here are the winners:

Charles for the stupid grade inflation policy

Dilletaunt for the policy of calling back Katrina victims every hour

Monkey for her no calendars policy (who thinks this stuff up)

Teri for her brilliant response to the pantyhose policy

and

Anonymous for the no e-mail Friday Haiku.

Thanks for playing!

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