Did I Stutter?

May 02, 2008 - by: Julie Elgar 10 COMMENTS

LITIGATION VALUE: $450,000 (if
Stanley ever quits or is fired)
It is with great sadness that I announce that I am leaving “That’s What She Said.” I have taken a new job and am leaving the private practice of law. But don’t despair. Our beloved blog will continue. I have passed the torch to my colleague Troy Foster, who is not only one of the funniest people I know but who is also a huge fan of the show.

At least the writers made my last post an easy one: tonight’s episode was full of Dunder Mifflin management missteps. Had Stanley really been fired (or if he had just quit in disgust after the “faux firing”), he would have found it substantially easier to make those alimony payments to the former Mrs. Stanley Hudson (not to mention his future ex-wives). His claims for race discrimination, age discrimination, wrongful termination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress would have been pretty solid. You just don’t get to “faux fire” the only over-40 black employee after asking him for suggestions on how to “pep up” and “energize” the workplace by recording an “urban” message in a staff meeting. Plus, juries are rarely impressed by managers who publicly humiliate their employees. That being said, Michael’s blunders don’t excuse Stanley’s conduct. As much as we all have wanted to blow up at our boss during some point in our careers, the cold hard truth is that you just don’t get to do so without adverse consequences.

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The Convict

November 30, 2006 - by: Julie Elgar 2 COMMENTS


I’d say that Martin (“the Convict”) Nash has a damn good race discrimination case. First his boss publicly humiliates him by announcing that he is a convict, and then, during the same speech, asks his co-workers to name trustworthy people so he can identify an African-American whom he trusts more. Who does he name? Danny Glover (whom he trusts more than Pam’s dad); Colin Powell (whom he trusts more than Justin Timberlake) and Apollo Creed (whom he trusts more than Jesus). Plus, I don’t think Dundler-Mifflin’s attorneys are looking forward to making the “because they didn’t like my racist impression of ‘Prison Mike,’ I locked them in the conference room so they would appreciate me more” argument to a jury. Call me crazy.

I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that locking your employees in a conference room is a bad idea. It could lead to a claim of false imprisonment. And because there are no statutory caps (in most states) for this type of claim, I think the company may have to cough up a bunch of money. Truthfully, I’ve never had a case where a manager has locked employees in a conference room. But when I sent a firm wide e-mail around to see if anyone else had, amazingly, there were attorneys who have handled similar claims. They tell me the cases were resolved for some pretty staggering figures. Plus, as any litigator knows, when Martin’s case goes to trial he will tell a tale of woe replete with “vicious” instances of pain, suffering and recurrent episodes of post-traumatic stress disorder. . . . But then again, I may just be a cynical couch potato.

Categories: Race Discrimination

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