A Tale of Two Repeats

April 02, 2010 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 2 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Very Little.  Destination Wedding = $25,000; Niagara Falls Ceremony after Escaping Wedding = $100; Diapering Angela’s Cat = Priceless.

Given that last night consisted of two repeats, two of my colleagues have already done a wonderful job of covering issues raised by the Dunder Mifflin gang’s antics last night. Although last night’s episodes did not give rise to much in the way of litigation value, here’s a rundown of my top 10 things not to do at the office (or anywhere else, for that matter).

  1. Offer to stick spicy food (or anything else) into a coworker’s rectum.
  2. Discuss a coworker’s nipples. On the other hand, I definitely agree with Michael that no coworkers should be stimulating Pam’s nipples at Dunder Mifflin.
  3. Offer to bring a nippleless shirt to the office. Why Meredith has a nippleless anything in the car is a mystery to me. Of course, it may be the newest craze from the JWow collection.
  4. Pretend to shoot coworkers, even with your finger. This is particularly true if you intend to simulate gruesome brain splatter.
  5. Openly discuss the fact that Stanley has two lovers and you don’t have any.
  6. Decide to sleep nude in two coworkers’ bed, even if you are secretly eradicating mold and remodeling their kitchen for free.
  7. Announce that a coworker must have needed an “afternoon delight” with his wife.
  8. Discuss the relative hotness of a coworker as she stands uncomfortably next to you.
  9. Spread a rumor that a coworker has an elephant heart.
  10. Negotiate a parenting contract with a former office flame, even if your biological clock is ticking so loudly you awaken to find yourself cradling a gourd on your beet farm.

Although Pam’s struggles and eventual triumphs in the area of breastfeeding made for entertaining television (especially when she breastfed the wrong infant) in last night’s repeat, it also raises an employment law issue. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require employers to give an employee a reasonable break to express milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth. The provision also requires the employer to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, where the employee can express milk.

The employer is not required to pay the employee for this break time. Additionally, employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to these requirements if the requirements would impose an undue hardship “by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.”

Given Michael’s talent for distracting employees from any actual productivity, I imagine that giving Pam a break to express her breastmilk will not pose any undue hardship on the company (even if it did have fewer than 50 employees). Looks like Michael may be searching for a breastfeeding area for Pam, despite the male Dunder Mifflin employees’ discovery of just how nice the ladies’ room is. Indeed, Creed pays for the privilege of spending some quality time there. Maybe Kevin will even let Pam borrow his bathroom candle to create a relaxing ambiance in her new breastfeeding area.

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2 COMMENTS

1 Christopher
12:47:55, 05/04/10

This is awesome! I have enjoyed reading this article and find the writer very talented in combining a show I love, The Office, with real legal workplace scenarios. I enjoy The Office for its ridicule of work place dramas, regulations, and bureaucracy; I often wonder what regulations may be in place in real life. ( ibid: the law for Nursing Infants in the workplace, etc. )

Keep writing, I like the idea behind this article!

Its a shame there isnt a law that prevents retards like Michael Scott from running a business, it would definitely need to be enforced at my job!

2 Danny - Interesting HR
00:39:44, 23/10/10

I realize this is a late comment but I just came across this blog. Very entertaining and useful. I have solved the issue of Pam and her breast feeding location. She would already be familiar with the surroundings. The Michael Scott Paper Co. office (or utility closet) with direct access to Toby’s conversations while on the can; unless of course, it is still considered Disco Central.

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