Stapler-Markers And Other Unusual Gift Ideas

December 23, 2011 - by: Joshua Drexler 0 COMMENTS
Joshua Drexler

Litigation Value: potentially millions when Dunder Mifflin/Saber tries to assert ownership rights over the Stapler-Marker or scented pink paper.

In an unusual deviation from its comic roots, last night’s episode of The Office, “Gettysburg,” tackled a difficult societal issue: the isolation and depression resulting from corporate America treating business like war….. Ok, that’s not true – just making sure you are paying attention. In reality “Gettysburg” was a re-run and typically hilarious. Jaclyn West initially provided great commentary.

One of my favorite moments from the episode involved the “Stapler-Marker.” The idea for this ingenious device bubbled up from the depths of Kevin’s unusual mind. Imagine it: no longer will you have to set down your marker before stapling the document that you are working on to another document. Instead, in one seamless movement, you will mark and then staple. Or you will staple then mark. As Kevin demonstrated, you might even be able to do both tasks at the same time, cutting out endless hours of wasted moments during the day.

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Stand by Me

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

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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Michael May Be Gone — But His Emails Go On!

August 25, 2011 - by: Doug Hall 0 COMMENTS
Doug Hall

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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It’s Not Easy Being Green

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

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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Lady GaGa’s Door is Open

October 29, 2010 - by: Jaclyn West 1 COMMENTS
Jaclyn West

Litigation Value: More fodder for Darryl’s racial harassment claim and $1,000 to re-write Sabre’s Open Door Policy.

Where to begin, where to begin? I knew as soon as I saw the Hallowe’en costumes that we were in for quite an evening. And I must say, I agree with Kelly — can’t Michael just let the employees enjoy an office party, for once, without making it about all of his issues? Tonight, Michael was upset because Darryl went over his head to go behind his back (and stab him in the heart, I might add).

Some time back, apparently, Darryl had the idea that the warehouse delivery drivers should be able to make sales. He presented this idea to Michael, who squashed it. (Probably because it didn’t involve dressing up in costume like the Golden Ticket idea from a few seasons back.)  Not having gotten anywhere with Michael, Darryl then took the idea to Gabe. First, I have to point out, Darryl did go to Michael first, so Michael’s anger at being circumvented is slightly misplaced.

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Kristin Starnes Gray

Litigation Value:  training management on whistleblower protections — $10,000; settling customer claims due to the flaming printers — more than Sabre would like to think about; finding out Holly’s coming back — priceless.

The printers aren’t the only things heating up at Sabre. Jo’s mission to root out the whistleblower had more than one person sweating in Scranton. Tensions were high given Pam’s admission to a reporter’s wife, Darryl’s misguided attempts to pick up a not-so-cute copy editor, Kelly’s infamous tweet, and Andy’s video. Unfortunately for Sabre, a variety of laws protect employees who choose to “blow the whistle” on employer wrongdoing.

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Meet the New Boss

February 04, 2010 - by: Brian Kurtz 3 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

Litigation Value: Approximately $5,000 – 10,000; Oscar’s Dunder Mifflin vacation time … and the replacement cost of Stanley’s busted windshield.

Employment law issues often get overlooked in a merger while the parties focus on stock price, transition planning, public relations, and other big-ticket concerns. When Gabe announced to the Scranton employees that Sabre offered two weeks of vacation, Oscar complained that he had six weeks banked from Dunder Mifflin. Is he entitled to either cash it out or carry it over to his Sabre employment? Probably.

While not entirely clear, it appears that Sabre purchased a controlling stake in Dunder Mifflin. In this type of stock purchase, the buyer “steps into the shoes” of the company being acquired. Of course, a new employer can make its own policy, but subject to state wage-hour laws. Most state laws prohibit an employer from taking away an employee’s earned or accrued vacation. Oscar’s complaint suggests that Dunder Mifflin permitted employees to carry over earned, unused vacation. So when Sabre stepped into Dunder Mifflin’s shoes, Oscar’s vacation bank should have carried over. Hey, Gabe. Let’s talk about a use-it-or-lose-it vacation policy.

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Who Wanted to Be a Millionaire?

December 03, 2009 - by: Doug Hall 2 COMMENTS
Doug Hall

Litigation Value: From Dunder Mifflin’s corporate perspective, likely $0, though it might find itself having to defend claims that it should be liable for Michael’s tuition promise. Michael on the other hand . . . but you can’t get blood from a turnip, right?

Just how long has Michael Scott been wreaking havoc on the greater Scranton area? From this episode of The Office, Scott’s Tots, we learn that he’s been at it for at least 10 years, when he promised a group of third graders — Scott’s Tots — that he would pay their college tuition should they graduate from high school. Oh those heady days of 1999, when Michael thought he’d be a millionaire by age 30, 40 at the latest. Well, it’s 2009 now and the chickens have come home to roost. In a series of cringe-inducing scenes, Michael tries to avoid facing the music at all, then reluctantly comes clean, but only after letting the kids sing his praises.

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Getting a Little (Maid of the) Misty

October 08, 2009 - by: Doug Hall 2 COMMENTS
Doug Hall

Litigation Value: $0 for Dunder-Mifflin (consider the bullets dodged for now), but I’d love to be the plaintiffs’ lawyer representing those poor souls who got ice from the machine in which Kevin stuck his formerly Kleenex-boxed feet

I don’t normally cry at weddings, but I could see making an exception for the long-anticipated nuptials of “The Office” sweethearts Pam and Jim. Not because these characters found true love — they’re fictional after all. No, my tears were for the fact that the wedding takes the entire Office out of the office and on the road to Niagara Falls! (“Niagara Falls! Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch…”  - it’s an old Three Stooges routine, ask your parents.) How is any self-respecting employment lawyer — or me for that matter — supposed to write an employment law blog about an episode that doesn’t involve work? Well, I shouldn’t have worried, Michael Scott et al. never fail to deliver!

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Documentation Can be Your Golden Ticket

July 16, 2009 - by: Kylie Crawford 1 COMMENTS

This week was a rerun of the episode “Golden Ticket,” where we learned that Dwight keeps a diary, mostly about what Michael does.  While I’m not recommending that you document every little thing the people in your office (and particularly your boss!) do, the episode is a good reminder about the importance of documentation.

It is to an employer’s benefit to immediately document workplace performance issues.  For one thing, a supervisor’s documentation will be the best evidence of what actually happened at the time, rather than asking the supervisor to recall incidents that may have happened weeks or months ago during an employee’s review period.  And when it’s time to terminate an employee for work performance issues, employers need to be able to prove that the issues existed in the first place.  Documenting the issues in writing bolsters an employer’s credibility and also demonstrates that the employee was not subjected to harsh discipline without warning (or, in Dwight’s situation, asked to fall on his sword).  On a more practical level, it’s important to remember that the employee’s supervisor may not be working for the company when it’s time to discipline or terminate the employee, but the written reprimands and other key documentation will still be there.

Categories: Policies

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