Phyllis and Bob’s Wedding

February 08, 2007 - by: Julie Elgar 6 COMMENTS

LITIGATION VALUE: $ 0.00

First off, let’s hear it for the HR Hero in last night’s episode. As he put it, “Toby, yeah!” I’m not sure what is going to happen with that story line, but it can’t be good that Hollywood thinks it’s funny for the HR manager to land an attractive model. Or could it?

So Michael ruins the wedding, who would have guessed it? With Michael’s egregious behavior, you might hope that Phyllis could make a claim against Dunder Mifflin. After all, if she can be fired for boorish conduct at an office party, why can’t she sue the company when Michael ruins her party? But she can’t. Being a jerk is not illegal. As much as I wish that it were, it just is not.

That is not to say, however, that when managers act like jerks at work it won’t come back to haunt their employers. It usually does and, too often, it takes the form of a lawsuit. So what solves the problem of boorish workplace behavior? Training. While the proper training may cost the company some money initially, failing to train managers to effectively communicate with all of their employees (and not just the ones they like), will certainly cost more at the end of the day.

And, while always funny on television, the company’s training should probably not test any of Pavlov’s theories.

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6 COMMENTS

1 George Lenard
20:57:48, 10/02/07

Another good episode.

I’d like to hear what a good psychologist has to say. Not about the application of Pavlovian conditioning to Altoids — which could be useful as a gentler way for Jim to clean up Dwight’s breath than directly pushing the Altoids, not to mention actually commenting on his breath — but about Michael’s borderline personality and how his public youthful humiliation at his mom’s wedding, when he peed his pants, may have influenced his self-centered behavior at Phyllis’s wedding.

While the litigation value here may indeed be zero, I would point out that office parties (which this arguably was by extension, given the number of guests from The Office) can be the scene of behavior that can lead to claims.

What if the guy leaving with Pam had not been her ex-fiance who works in the warehouse, but her supervisor with whom she formerly had a relationship; and he had threatened her with termination of employment to get her to go with him?

What if Michael had made attendance at the wedding a command performance, and an employee had engaged in blatant sexual harassment of another employee at the reception? What if attendance was voluntary, but Dunder-Mifflin provided the space for the reception?

And what will happen to sweet Pam? Will she settle for second best after all, or will she and Jim finally get together? Stay tuned . . . that one can be expected to play out slow as a soap opera . . . which I guess it is.

2 Puck
16:27:47, 13/02/07

The post: FILLER.

The comment above: Worthwhile.

This sentence structure: terse.

3 Julie Elgar
16:56:18, 13/02/07

I agree with George’s post. While events occurring outside of the workplace may not, by themselves, create liability for the company, they will almost always be used as evidence. And, in my experience, it is often the ‘juiciest” kind of evidence!

4 allthingsjennifer
15:38:27, 14/02/07

Julie, you are my new hero.

“Being a jerk is not illegal. As much as I wish that it were, it just is not.”

http://www.allthingsjennifer.com

5 DiversityTomorrow
13:15:44, 20/02/07

If being a jerk was illegal, throw Ryan Howard in a jail cell. Phyllis is getting SIX weeks off of work for her honeymoon. I just wonder is that PTO time, FMLA time or what. Six weeks is a lot of time to take off of work and it has to be a company paid, no time bank deduction, for her to be so thrilled with six weeks.

I’m so happy for Toby and his girlfriend that caught the bouquet. Toby is just so cute. Wonder if Michael will want to be part of his wedding – Employer of the Groom? hmmm?? hmmmm? LOL

6 Julie Elgar
20:54:59, 20/02/07

Good point. 6 weeks is a lot of PTO. If I were Phyllis, I’d be excited too!

Seriously, if I were Michael’s attorney, I’d ask what he planned on doing the next time someone asked for 6 weeks of paid vacation leave. Treating similarly-situated employees differently always causes problems!

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