The Coup

October 10, 2006 - by: Julie Elgar 1 COMMENTS

LITIGATION VALUE: $65,000

Somehow I don’t think that having Dwight stand on his desk with the word “liar” hanging from his neck is exactly what Jan meant when she told Michael to get control of his branch. Nevertheless, while Michael’s reaction was extreme, it will probably not expose the company to significant legal liability. Being a bad boss is not, by itself, illegal. To a point. However, when a supervisor’s conduct rises to the level of being utterly intolerable to a civilized community, then a company could be looking at a large verdict in the employee’s (or, more likely, former employee’s) claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Lucky for Dunder Mifflin, these claims are very hard to win.

Unfortunately, this difficulty does not always stop the disgruntled former employee from bringing a lawsuit. Sure, the judge might toss the case out of court, but the company will still have to pay an attorney $65,000 (or more) to get them to that point. Not surprisingly, most employers have trouble seeing this as a “win.” In the end, treating employees with dignity and respect, even when they royally screw up, will not only prevent liability, but it might just keep the Company out of litigation all together. And most employers would definitely consider that to be a “win.”

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