Misery Loves Company; Plaintiffs Love Dunder Mifflin

March 06, 2009 - by: Troy Foster 2 COMMENTS

Litigation value: $ 100,000

On the Blood Drive episode of The Office, Michael took things to the next level, or at least got creative in finding new ways to do something actionable, by stopping work and throwing a Valentine’s Day mixer. Sure, in the past Michael has said crude things, turned a blind eye to inappropriate behavior, and engaged in dangerous office relationships, but I don’t think he’s ever gone out of his way to get others involved like he did this week.

Even though no one actually complained during the episode, there could have been many unintended victims of Michael’s forced mixing. Anyone at the office that day had a viable claim against the company, even if they weren’t specifically forced to mingle. We’ll call it $100,000 for now.

Employers should have strong policies in place about office romances, and supervisors should be trained about how to deal with them. At Dunder Mifflin Scranton, Michael is doing the opposite. He literally forced Kevin to romantically engage someone; he forced Oscar to talk about his most private thoughts and feelings; and he enabled Phyllis to go off campus during work hours and have a restaurant nooner (technically not actionable, but I think we can all agree, not any less offensive).

As always, Michael’s intentions were noble –- among other things, he wished to protect his single employees from having love shoved in their faces. Unfortunately, no matter how noble the intentions, bosses simply can’t force their employees into these kinds of situations. As they say, roses are red, violets are blue, Michael is reckless, and so is Schrute.

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1 Elon SBA Blawg Crawl - 03/06/2009 | Elon School of Law - Student Bar Association
11:47:04, 06/03/09

[...] ‘The Office’ cost in real life litigation?  You can find the current episodes value in Misery Loves Company - From That’s What She Said [...]

2 Christopher Sugar
17:24:53, 11/03/09

In addition, to bolster your charge about management being on notice of office romances, Micheal has, on two occasions, signed relationship release forms when he was dating/involved with his immediate supervisor Jan. Dunder Mifflin, thus, does have such policies in place but their Regional Manager is blatantly disregarding those policies.

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