Monday, February 6, 2012

A pisser of an HR policy

I’m a firm believer in good, sound, and comprehensive HR policies. They are necessary evil to establish the baseline expectations between a company and its employees. For example, they help avoid any confusion about the appropriate uses of email and the Internet. They also tell employees how many days-off they are allowed. And, in some cases, such as harassment and the FMLA, the law just flat-out requires them.

But, like all good things, HR policies can go too far. An example, you ask? How’s this one, courtesy of Above the Law. A San Francisco law firm issued an “Office Restroom Etiquette” policy, which included discussions on how much time to spend taking care of business, how to clean up, and what to do about certain natural odors and noises. It also offered some pointers for its male employees on what to do at urinals:

In urinals, keep your eyes up and ahead and avoid looking around as a mistaken glance in the wrong direction may be embarrassing and might even result in a confrontation. Also, keep as much distance between yourself and others in public restrooms. Always choose the urinal farthest away from other people if possible; this goes for stalls too.

Here’s another true story. I know someone who worked for a company at which the boss monitored employees’ every move via hidden cameras, including how often, and for how long, they visited the restroom. If your management has so much time on their hands that they need to involve themselves in employees’ bathroom habits, you might want to consider downgrading them to part-time status. They obviously do not have enough to fill their plates on a full-time basis.