Dwight. Pray. Love.

June 16, 2011 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: $0.00.  But Dwight needs to put at least $20 in the collection plate.

Sometimes The Office does not take place in the office. Such was the case in this week’s repeat broadcast of “Christening,” which takes place on a Sunday at Jim’s and Pam’s church. As guests file in, Dwight Schrute hands out his business cards with a whispered reminder of their need to buy paper. I’m pretty sure it’s not unlawful for Dwight to engage in selling activities at a house of worship. Tasteless, tacky and inappropriate, but not unlawful.  Conversely, how should an employer deal with an employee who wants to engage in religious activities in the workplace?

The general rule is that an employer has an obligation to accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs unless doing so would create an undue hardship. So, does a security company with a strict grooming policy have to permit a Rastafarian applicant to wear his dreadlocks? Does a manufacturing company with a rotating weekend schedule have to excuse a Jewish employee who cannot work on Saturday? Can a pharmacy terminate an employee who refuses to dispense contraception?  Can Dunder Mifflin stop Angela from proselytizing to the Party Planning Committee (OK, made that one up)?

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Time to Say Goodbye

April 29, 2011 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 2 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Michael asking Angela if she had thought they would have sex and Gabe accosting Erin in the women’s room = additional fodder for sexually hostile work environment claims; finding out Phyllis regularly buys erotic cakes = thousands of dollars in therapy for the party planning committee to forget that disturbing mental image; Michael finally getting his World’s Best Boss trophy = priceless.

It’s time to say goodbye to Michael Scott, everyone’s favorite foot-grilling, ladies suit-wearing, paintball-playing boss. While it is sad to see him go, we can’t help but be happy that he’s finally getting his fairytale ending with Holly. Last night’s episode had Michael coming to terms with his move to Colorado (including the reality that his improv class credits may not transfer) and trying to have a special moment with each of his Dunder Mifflin family members before he leaves. Now that he has taken off the microphone and boarded the plane to the land of bears, let’s look back on some of the best Michael Scott moments over the last seven seasons.

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Pushing the Limits of PDA

March 18, 2011 - by: Joshua Drexler 0 COMMENTS

When last night’s episode originally aired on February 10, 2011, I noted that the Scranton office more closely resembled a nightclub at the height of the sexual revolution than a reputable place of business — see my original commentary entitled “Let’s Get It On.” I discussed recent findings on the prevalence of workplace dating, as well as the inherent liability risks with office romances.

This time I’m going to focus more narrowly on the issue of PDA, or “Public Display of Affection,” as Michael and Holly’s exhibition is worthy of the record books. Their fondling, caressing, heavy breathing, etc., made everyone around them nauseatingly uncomfortable. Michael and Holly were so engrossed in each other that they were oblivious to their own PDA – an intervention was required just to bring it to their attention.

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The Pack(er) is Back!

February 24, 2011 - by: Doug Hall 1 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: At the end of the day, shockingly little, given that it was a Packer-based episode.

So who has two thumbs and thinks Sabre/Dunder-Mifflin dodged a bullet after Todd Packer returned to The Office?  This guy!

Tonight’s episode finds Michael’s BFF Packer looking to come in from the road and reclaim “his” desk (which has been Dwight’s desk for the past 10 years). We’ve seen Packer’s sophomoric antics before, and they have been fertile ground for potential employment liability. True to form, Packer pretends to hump Michael and Dwight as they crawl under Dwight’s desk, refers to his own daughter as a “bitch,” and makes jokes about Kevin’s weight and intelligence (certainly not the first Office dweller to do that). Things get so bad that Holly, who initially supported Packer’s reentry to the office, is forced to tell Michael what a jerk Packer is.

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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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Veggie Tale of Terror

January 21, 2011 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 1 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Inappropriate Comments by Kevin, Creed, Michael, and Darryl = Yet More Expensive Fodder for Hostile Work Environment Claims; Cost of Sparkly Resolution Board = $4; Michael Force-Feeding Broccoli to Kevin = Priceless.

It’s a brand new year, and our friends at Sabre are determined to start off on the right foot by sticking to their resolutions . . . at least until Michael assaults Kevin with veggies and Creed cracks under the pressure of learning to do a cartwheel. It looks like we have many more Office antics to look forward to in 2011.

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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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Lady GaGa’s Door is Open

October 29, 2010 - by: Jaclyn West 1 COMMENTS

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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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Gags

October 15, 2010 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 2 COMMENTS

Kidnapping day laborers = possible jail time for Dwight; giving Oscar another paid vacation and use of a company car= $15,000; settling claims related to Andy’s sex-ed course = more than just some free pizza; watching Michael try to convince an elderly stranger that they were once lovers = priceless.

Between Michael tracking down his former girlfriends over an STD scare and Andy using a sex-ed course to find out if Erin is practicing abstinence, last night’s shenanigans certainly made for an expensive and unproductive day for Sabre. One of the many lessons from last night’s episode is that romantic relationships between employees can lead to serious awkwardness and even potential liability. For example, after noticing a cold sore, Michael began a mission to notify his past girlfriends that they might have herpes. This list of old flames included his former supervisor, a human resources manager, and even Oscar (which we’ll get to shortly). I must admit, though, that I enjoyed Michael interrupting Jan’s ridiculous sing-a-long by abruptly stating , “I have herpes.”

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Give ‘Em The Old Razzle Dazzle

September 03, 2010 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 4 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Training on Diversity and Harassment = $5,000; Settlement of Countless Employee Claims = a Shocking Amount; Years Worth of “That’s What She Said” Jokes = Priceless.

With Michael’s final season quickly approaching, last night’s repeat got Michael Scottme thinking about all my favorite Michael moments over the seasons. While Michael can be a human resources nightmare, he certainly has made us laugh (when we weren’t cringing).  Here’s a list of my top 10 favorite examples of Michael’s “dash of razzle dazzle” management style. Who knows? Maybe TBS will even include a few of them during its Labor Day marathon of The Office.
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