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The seismic design provisions and stability requirements for steel columns used at the first storey of MRFs as specified is Canadian steel design standard (CSA S16), U.S. design provisions for steel buildings (AISC 341 and AISC 360), the New Zealand steel structures standard (NZS 3404), and Eurocodes 3 and 8 (EC3 and EC8) are reviewed. The code provisions are applied to a deep, slender steel I-shaped column to identify possible failure modes. A finite element analysis of the column is performed under cyclic inelastic lateral drift history to validate code predictions. The column was found to fail by out-of-plane instability, after local buckling has developed in the base plastic hinge. This failure mode was not expected from the axial-bending interaction equations available in the design standards except the equation of Eurocode 3. Limits for out-of-plane slenderness in Canadian and European provisions indicate the observed failure mode.