February 23, 2007 - by: Julie Elgar 4 COMMENTS


Nothing says “I love you” quite like a detailed legal contract acknowledging that you were neither coerced nor were promises made to entice you into entering into a relationship with your boss, and if the woman of your dreams becomes a nightmare, that you won’t sue your employer. Yes, love contracts actually do exist. I should know, I’ve written several of them.

Are they effective, you ask? They can be, but not for the reasons you might think, and Dunder Mifflin’s attempt at “protection” is probably not going to prevent Michael (or Jan for that matter) from suing them after the inevitable explosion and disintegration of their relationship. Courts generally don’t take much stock in agreements that waive your right to sue for wrongs that haven’t even happened yet. The love contract would, however, have some limited value as evidence that the relationship was voluntary, consensual, was not considered by either party to be “harassment.” Unless, of course, Michael says that he was coerced into signing it when Jan ambushed him in the driveway of the CFO’s house. And it probably does not bode well that they signed the documents at a company function where cocktails were served.

Romantic isn’t it?

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1 “Love contracts” actually exist | backward five
00:19:28, 24/02/07

[...] On last night’s episode of ‘The Office’, Jan had Michael sign a contract saying that he won’t sue Dunder Mifflin if (when) his relationship with Jan goes south. Jan had to sign it, too, but she didn’t share Michael’s interpretation of what it meant, or his enthusiasm for framing and displaying it for all to see. Julie Elgar, who’s been using her blog, “That’s What She Said”, to attach potential real-world legal costs to the zany fictional antics of Dunder Mifflin’s employees (usually it’s Michael), commented on “love contracts” in one of yesterday’s posts. [...]

2 sophia_helix
13:47:17, 26/02/07

Inquiring minds want to know — if Roy makes good on his promise but assaults Jim off the clock and off company premises, can he still be fired for injuring a co-worker?

3 Lawboy
10:21:59, 28/02/07

Sure he can. There’s no law against terminating an employee for engaging in violent behavior, whether on or off the premises. Wouldn’t his behavior allow one to reasonably question his suitability for employment?

4 Julie Elgar
08:46:40, 01/03/07

I agree with Lawboy. In almost every state, employers can fire an employee for good reason, bad reason, or for no reason at all so long as they don’t fire the employee for a discriminatory or retaliatory reason.

Another interesting question would be whether Dunder Mifflin could be held liable if Roy makes good on his promise to “kill” Jim. I doubt that they could; however, it would certainly get more interesting if management knew of the threat and did nothing about it.

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