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Think your office has strict rules? Be glad you don't work here

If you think your company is strict about what it allows in the office, just be glad you don't work for the New York health department.

Employees at the department, who are in the midst of moving in to new digs, have been handed a set of guidelines for "Life in the Cubicle Village" that prohibits them from wearing overbearing perfume, bans them from eating deep fried foods at parties and meetings and even asks them to avoid eavesdropping.

And if employees can't help but eavesdrop, the new rules say they should "at least resist the urge to add your comments," the New York Daily News reports.

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Not only have the department's 3, 000 employees been asked to avoid wearing products with "noticeable odors," they have also been told not to post "any displays, photos, cartoons, or other personal items that may be offensive."

The new rules also detail the type of foods that can and can't be served at departmental meetings or parties: tap water must be served if there are drinks, and all other beverages must be less than 25 calories per 8 ounces. As well, deep-fried foods "cannot be served" although air-popped popcorn is permissible so long as it is "popped at the party and served in brown paper lunch bags."

Cake is allowed, but when a "celebration cake" is served there can be no cookies to go along with it.

While one health department worker told the Daily News the new guidelines "seems like micromanaging," a department spokesperson told the newspaper it is a case of "leading by example."

How much say should an employer have when it comes to office etiquette?

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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