Stand by Me

December 02, 2011 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value:  Implementing an antinepotism policy = $800; medical bills for Dwight’s tumble from his secret standing stool = $1,000; applying your “buffalo wings passion” to all aspects of your life = priceless.

Last night’s episode contained some interesting revelations about our friends at Dunder Mifflin Sabre.  Indeed, Creed may be part of a secret suicide cult, Phyllis is prone to “classic room-clearing farts,” Oscar likes to put puppies in ladles for photo purposes, and Creed spends part of his work day playing with a toy helicopter on the roof.  In addition, we learned that there is someone who actually intimidates regional manager Robert California — his wife, Susan.

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Awesome!

September 08, 2011 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS

With just two weeks to go until the new season begins, I wanted to make sure we give proper attention to another potential candidate for Michael’s position (once Robert California vacates it and proceeds to rule the Company and then the world) — Kelly Kapoor. She has gone through a number of transformations since slapping Michael in “Diversity Training.” Has the minority executive training program helped Kelly to become a rising star? Gabe certainly learned his lesson when he failed to take Kelly seriously as a candidate. In case Kelly does indeed fill Michael’s large shoes, here is my top 10 list of things our friends at The Office should keep in mind.

1.  You better hope you raised your hand for Kelly when asked whose side you were on in the Kelly/Ryan divorce drama.

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Michael May Be Gone — But His Emails Go On!

August 25, 2011 - by: Doug Hall 0 COMMENTS

Counting down the weeks until the new season of The Office starts. Tonight’s rerun episode — “Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager” — was first covered by my Office (and office) mate Jaclyn West; check it out, it’s a great read (http://blogs.hrhero.com/thatswhatshesaid/2011/05/14/straight-shooter/).

Poking around The Office website on nbc.com, I came across a web exclusive: a collection of e-mails between Michael and his former Dunder Mifflin co-workers. You can read them at http://www.nbc.com/the-office/exclusives/michael-scott/yahoo/. Check out the folders labeled “Friends” (particularly the one from Holly) and “Co-workers.” The latter includes several messages from Michael as he flew across the country to reunite with Holly in Colorado (thank goodness for in-flight WiFi, and thank goodness that Ryan let Michael know that the WiFi was available throughout the plane, not just in the bathroom), as well as some post-departure e-mails from the denizens of The Office. I especially liked the one from “The Fist,” and Dwight’s anxious reply.

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Shhh — It’s a Secret

July 21, 2011 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS

It’s official. James Spader’s uber-intense character, Robert California, is going to be the new big boss on The Office. My colleague, Kristin Gray, excitedly revealed this news in her post two weeks ago. Kristin, its seems, was a fan of Spader’s character on Boston Legal, which I applaud her for admitting on the Internet.

For me, it’s Spader’s role in Wall Street as Roger Barnes, son (nephew?) of the senior partner at a corporate law firm. Barnes is very instructive to my law practice today. It was Barnes who put it in Bud Fox’s head that there was a treasure trove of confidential information in his colleagues’ law offices. Fox bought into a janitorial firm to gain after-hours access to Barnes’ firm — access he used for insider stock trading.

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Categories: Trade Secrets

Still a Disaster, Thankfully

May 20, 2011 - by: Joshua Drexler 1 COMMENTS

car wreckLitigation Value: minimum $250,000 if Dwight gets the job.

C’mon, let’s be honest. You watched the season finale of The Office for the same reason that millions of fans watch NASCAR. You knew a pile-up was coming. And you kind of hoped the crash would be fantastically terrible — so long as no one was terribly injured.

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Let’s Get It On…

February 11, 2011 - by: Joshua Drexler 4 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: none now, but plenty in the making.

Studio 54 was a nightclub in New York City with infamously loose rules related to sexual expression. Rumor has it that back-room rendezvous were the norm. Sabre/Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton office may be trying to give the club a run for its money.

Dwight Schrute reminded us that practically everyone in the office has had sex there at some point. Jim and Pam got it on last night. We’re not sure where they did the deed, but after imbibing during lunch, they almost hooked up in a cardboard box. Ryan actually extended an invitation for them to use his closet/office.

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I Do. You Sue

January 14, 2011 - by: Brian Kurtz 3 COMMENTS

This week was another repeat of “Niagara,” the hour-long Pam and Jim wedding episode. Doug Hall and Matt Scott did a nice job with this episode here and here offering different takes on employee behavior outside the office. But seriously, does an employer really have to be concerned about what happens at an employee’s wedding?

Yup.

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

December 03, 2010 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS

Blawg 100Litigation Value: Front-row seat for the epic Michael v. Oscar battle of the wits = $0; coffee from the office coffee bar = a shocking $8 per cup;  watching Dwight fail miserably at drinking coffee with his toes = priceless.

In this week’s episode, Oscar and Michael battle it out to see who is the smartest person in the office, while Dwight and Pam face off about Dwight’s new cost-saving measures in the building. Let the Scranton games begin.

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It’s a WUPHF World

November 20, 2010 - by: Jaclyn West 5 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Probably no liability to Sabre, although several employees stood to lose their investments in Wuphf.com.

This week’s episode of The Office focused on Dunder Mifflin/Sabre’s own budding social media king, Ryan Howard. We first learned about Ryan’s new social media company, WUPHF, last season when the most recent IT guy, “Glasses,” mined the employees’ hard drives and we all discovered how many ways Dunder Mifflin employees have dreamed up to waste company time. Well, it looks like Ryan has continued to work on his personal dream of further expanding the social media landscape and creating a world where none of us is ever safe from Kelly’s calls, IMs, Tweets, Facebook messages, and LinkedIn invitations. Ryan’s goal of creating a social media empire has continued to evolve on company time and using company resources, much to Erin’s chagrin. (Was I the only one who LOL’ed when Erin whispered “All that color” with intense emotion after Ryan unveiled his WUPHF poster, created on Sabre printers, no doubt?)

But wasting company time and resources isn’t what I want to talk about today, although I could write a novel about the ways Scranton employees have come up with to put Dunder Mifflin’s resources to unsanctioned use. (My personal favorite — the Dunder Mifflin Olympics from Season 2. I dream of medalling in Flonkerton.) And that certainly was on my mind as I watched this episode — after all, Jim devoted a large chunk of the episode to adapting Jo’s book into a way to torture Gabe over the phone. Jim did have a good point: Changing the policy to put a cap on commissions did remove his incentive to work hard, once he had reached the cap, and Gabe’s failure to recognize the possible productivity issue may come back to bite the company later. But we can talk about that another time, since I expect Jim’s reign of unproductive terror is not over.

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Who’s In Charge Around Here?

November 11, 2010 - by: Brian Kurtz 1 COMMENTS

Litigation Value:  $0.00

Who’s the boss?

In the opening scene of the “Viewing Party,” the staff is crowded around a TV in the conference room watching local coverage of the Scranton Strangler. Gabe walks in and directs everyone to return to work. They ignore him. Later, in the kitchen, Kevin refers to Gabe as Michael’s “boss” . . . in front of Michael. Employees scatter. At Gabe’s Glee viewing party, Michael and Gabe face off in the ultimate test of masculinity and dominion — control over the clicker.

It goes without saying that an organization cannot function properly without effective leadership. Legally, it’s a toxic situation. Frontline supervisors don’t get any training and don’t know how to deal with employee complaints of harassment or discrimination. Policies and procedures are ineffective, not followed, or simply nonexistent. There is no consistent treatment of employees. Supervisors retaliate against employees. It all invariably leads to costly and disruptive litigation.

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