The Weirdest Employee Conduct Policies At Major Companies

Every workplace has a few rules for workers -- but some corporate demands and suggestions are crazier than others. "Naked Fridays," anyone?

No matter where you get a job, you’ll be expected to act in a certain way. Maybe you’ll have to wear a uniform (sorry, fast food employees), or have to use certain words with customers (looking at you, telemarketers). That’s to be expected. Some companies, though, have way more intense rules. Here are the oddest guidelines that employees are reportedly mandated or “encouraged” to follow…

American Apparel: Executives judge your photo

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That’s former American Apparel CEO Dov Charney (who’s still a high-level consultant), an extremely controversial guy for myriad reasons, including several sexual harassment lawsuits. Leaked documents indicate that all job applicants must have “head to toe” pictures taken, and a former store manager alleges that “anyone [Charney personally] deems not good-looking enough to work there is encouraged to be fired. … Dov wants to weed out the ‘ugly people.’”

This policy allegedly stays in place after you’re hired as well. The company claims that it’s just making sure employees don’t look “off-brand.”

Related Video: “Workplace Behavior: Instant Messaging”

Abercrombie & Fitch: No “unnatural” haircuts

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According to a “look policy” that Buzzfeed obtained, Abercrombie mandates specific “acceptable” hairstyles for employees — and just as many that are “unacceptable” for appearing “extreme.” The same appears to go for makeup, nail polish and even nail length, which is limited to “1/4 inch beyond the tip of the finger.”

Weirdest of all, a former employee claims that at stores without fragrance vents, workers (referred to as “models”) must “spray every product and surface…throughout the day” with A&F’s signature scent.

New York Yankees: No facial hair

The most famous baseball team around has a longstanding policy — no beards, no sideburns, no exceptions. That means shaggy sluggers like Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi have had to clip their locks before putting on pinstripes. The policy stems from the Yankees’ late owner, Mr. Burns…uh, George Steinbrenner.

Westgate Resorts: You may be fired if Obama is reelected

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Plenty of CEOs bristle at the idea of — gasp! — paying for their employees’ healthcare, but back during the 2012 election, billionaire Westgate CEO/King in the North David Siegel warned employees, “If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company.”

Siegel noted that he can’t order employees how to pull the lever, yet added, “So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn’t? Whose policies will endanger your job?”

Munich Re: Orgies for good performance

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Leave it to the Germans. In 2007, a division of this insurance giant reportedly organized an orgy in Budapest to “reward” successful salespeople. Definitely better than steak knives a la “Glengarry Glen Ross,” but far more controversial.

Evernote: No telephones or email

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Evernote CEO Phil Libin is an innovator. He’s so innovative that he’s removed all telephones from Evernote’s office, and strongly discourages emails between employees. If you want to talk to someone, “I kind of want you to get up and go talk to them.” An interesting idea, but definitely discriminates against lazy people.

Disney World: Employees had to share their underwear

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As you can imagine, Disney theme parks have strict policies — all employees who portray characters must practice their autographs, princesses must know their movies by heart, and there’s reportedly no sitting down while in costume or saying “no” in general to pictures or autographs, no matter how smelly or sticky a child may be.

But that’s nothing compared to the former policy that employees had to share underwear with each other. Until 2001, switching shifts as Goofy meant switching briefs too. This allegedly led to the spread of pubic lice and scabies, which is very not magical.

Related Video: “Workplace Behavior: Phone Calls”

Starbucks: Don’t move

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We don’t know whether Starbucks instructs employees to misspell everybody’s name on their cups, but according to the Wall Street Journal, they must constantly stand in place “at the espresso bar instead of moving around” to speed up the process. Ironically, an employee told the newspaper, “[I]t doesn’t make sense to stand there and wait for the blender to finish running, because I could be making an iced tea at the same time.”

Apple: No correcting people?

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You know how your grandpa calls his iPhone his “Pod caller thingy”? Well, Apple employees might have to act like they’re just fine with that. A former employee claims that the staff is not allowed to correct you. It’s to make sure customers don’t feel bad about being dumb, which makes sense for a store staffed by self-proclaimed Geniuses.

Zappos: We’ll pay you to quit

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The online shoe retailer has a very offbeat company culture, but the strangest rule only applies to new employees: According to its former H.R. director, everyone starts with a few weeks answering phone calls — at which point, Zappos offers them $3,000 to leave if they don’t feel 100% committed. Seriously. Just, leave man. Get out! Here’s cash! For NOT doing work! Too bad you can only go through the hiring process once.

Onebestway: Naked Fridays

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Casual Friday is a slippery slope. This design firm in the UK instituted an optional Naked Friday policy because…oh, who knows. Something about team building. Actually, the employees were universally positive about the experience, with one of them explaining, “It was emotional but we found we were much more able to talk to each other honestly — and have been since. The company has improved massively.”

Honestly, though, unless you work in porn, do you want to see any of your coworkers naked? Bob from accounting wears shorts in the summer, and you can barely handle that.

Related Video: “Workplace Behavior: Water Bottles”

Evan Scott Schwartz is a writer from New York City. He does not know how to wink.