I’ve thought for some time that the reason these firms have all these anal-retentive employee and intern conduct rules and engage in the occasional double standard enforcement and non-enforcement of them is Machiavellian: They’re trying to smoke out then bounce out these kinds of grievance mongers, because they’ll be nothing but trouble and be an eternal drag on productivity and an eternal office politics headache. These firms aren’t going to put up with these honkeyshies on the part of their actual employees; they’re sure as hell not going to put up with it from a bunch of dead weight interns.
It’s also why, until recently, a lot of firms didn’t allow its employees to gossip with each other about each others’ salaries and compensation packages. Not to conceal sex discrimination, comma, Lilly Ledbetter, but to put the kibosh on acrimonious office politics and to smoke out gossipmongers, and also because there are many good valid above board reasons why two employees of a very similar situation may have very different salaries, wages and benefits, those reasons aren’t anyone’s business other than the relevant parties. It’s just like the intern story above: The dress code exception was for an actual employee who is a veteran who suffered a leg injury in whatever Crapistan we’re spreading duhmocrazy to, and his abiding by the footwear section of the dress code would have caused him constant pain and suffering.