EMPLOYEE RIGHTS / JUL. 12, 2015
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Top 5 Strangest Employment Laws in the World

We’ve heard about some pretty darn strange laws over the years. People in Milan, Italy, for instance, are required by law to smile at all times and rebels may face a fine. Frowning is only acceptable during funerals (thank goodness) or hospital visits, so it kind of sucks if you suffer from depression.

And here’s one of my personal favorites: the penalty for jumping off a building in New York is death – no sh*t, Sherlock.

However, dumb laws don’t just end there. They pour into the workplace, too, as evidenced by these 5 strange employment laws around the world.

See Also: 10 Crazy But Real Office Rules

1. Men can’t work in lingerie shops (Saudi Arabia)

A new law was introduced in 2012 banning all men from working in lingerie shops, after women in Saudi Arabia threatened to boycott shops and major brands, saying they felt uncomfortable buying undergarments from male shop assistants. The law extends to all women-only shops, and violating companies could be shut down, fined, or both.

2. You could be forbidden taking a bathroom break (USA)

Bursting for a pee
iStock

Employers in the Land of the Free are technically not legally required to allow employees take bathroom, cigarette or coffee breaks. Fortunately, however, no companies seem to be forcing their staff to hold their pee for hours on end - unless of course your boss is Hitler.

3. You could get a pay cut for wearing a silly hat (New Zealand)

Lose the Goofy hat. That’s essentially what a New Zealand law says. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, you decide to wear a silly hat to work, you might want to think twice or face the consequences: a 10% pay cut, or a 25% pay cut for repeat offenders.

4. Your waistline could cost you dearly (Japan)

While obesity can cost you your health, it can also cost you financially. In early 2008, a new law was introduced in Japan that required companies and local governments to measure the waistlines of their Japanese employees between the ages 40 and 74. The law outlines that the maximum waist size for men is 33.5 inches and 35.4 inches for women, and exceeding the government-imposed limit would result in paying more for health care.

5. Taxi drivers must ensure passengers don’t carry the plague (UK)

The United Kingdom has its own set of strange laws, but one that really stands out concerns taxi drivers. Apparently, taxi drivers are legally required by law to ask all passengers if they have small pox or – check this – the plague. It gets weirder, though: the UK law simply forbids them to carry corpses. Oh, great – now I gotta catch the bus?

See Also: 10 Laws You’ve Broken Without Even Realising It

It really gets you wondering how and why these laws came to be – I mean, how many people actually tried to ride a taxi with a corpse? One too many, apparently.

Can you think of any other wonderfully weird employment laws that you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below!

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