Litigation Value: Not much from this episode, but hopefully Dunder Mifflin will recognize the problems associated with socializing with an ex-employee.
This week’s episode illustrates some of the dangers of a disgruntled ex-employee. A recently fired Andy and his newly blossoming life crisis take center stage at a local fundraiser.
After a great cold open where Ryan tries to show off how seriously he’s mourning the loss of Smokey Robinson, we spend a little time at work before heading to a fundraiser thrown by Angela’s senator husband. Andy, who was terminated last week by Robert California, stops by the office as Erin’s date to the fundraiser. While waiting for Erin in the parking lot, Dwight informs the office that Andy is outside sitting in his car. This gets a few people worried that he is there to kill everybody. Erin and some others head out to his car to make sure everything is OK. Andy says he is. Kevin says he isn’t. This motif is repeated throughout the episode.
At the fundraiser, Andy shows up and clearly isn’t fine. He talks about his rock opera with the villain Thomas Oregon, and when Robert asks him to leave he buys a table for himself. He runs into David Wallace, which was nice. Apparently he sold the Suck It! to the military and is now very rich. After buying an entire table full of well-peppered salads for himself to sit alone at, Andy attempts to one-up Robert’s speech by adopting 12 sick and elderly dogs. Nothing else happens for Andy until the end of the episode when he is receiving the many complicated instructions for taking care of his new friends and Kevin of all people calls Andy out for not admitting he’s having a hard time. Once Andy finally admits he’s not doing so well with the recent termination, the episode ends. Thankfully, however, most of the dogs were adopted by other members of the office.
An interesting sub-plot was also running throughout the episode. Nellie attempts to connect with Darryl, and her main goal tonight was to get Darryl to treat her with less disdain. She sits beside him at the fundraiser and tries to bond by mentioning tacos even though she doesn’t know what they are. Nellie hopes they are neither slimy nor have eyes. Darryl takes the $30 Nellie pays for two tacos and pockets the change. Although the show didn’t say her thoughts about Darryl were sexual, I can’t be the only one who thought that Nellie was interested in him in that way. In which case, this could lay the groundwork for an interesting dynamic in the weeks to come.
As far as employment law concerns, there’s not much to take away from this week’s episode. It does help to illustrate, however, some of the dangers that can occur when an employee is not terminated properly and becomes disgruntled. Andy already has a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (discussed last week), and now that he has been fired for refusing to accept a demotion he could have an additional claim for wrongful discharge. With that potential liability in mind, the best practice would be to avoid situations where an ex-employee is in contact with former managers and supervisors. As always with The Office, however, best practices are almost never followed.
This week’s episode had its moments, which included Dwight’s inability to understand a silent auction and Nellie’s inability to eat a taco. As a whole, however, it leaves us wondering where the story with Andy is going to go? Will the termination stick? Not likely, but for now it’s providing us with a good ride through the emotional turmoil of a recently terminated employee.
What do you think? Let us know.