Deja vu

March 22, 2013 - by: Jaclyn West 0 COMMENTS
Jaclyn West

Litigation Value: Nothing for Pam, but I’m sure the Philly real estate employees have plenty of gripes.

Last night’s episode of “The Office” was a repeat of “Move On: Part I,” which we covered in our post “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.” There were plenty of shenanigans in Scranton during that episode, so we didn’t even get around to talking about Pam’s disastrous job interview in Philly. With Jim spending more and more time in Philadelphia working on developing his new company, Athlead, Pam is looking for employment opportunities in the area too. And hoo, boy, does she find one.

“Marky Mark, the horrible boss around here,” welcomes Pam for her interview with a tour around the office, complete with incoherent ramblings and bad jokes. He pokes fun at his employees, who have all so clearly heard the same jokes before – so many times – that they appear to have had their senses of humor beaten out of them. The interview then moves into Mark’s office, where he strums his guitar and serenades Pam with a spontaneous song – about her – under an “Odd Life of Timothy Green” poster. Pam, amused and intrigued, puts up with the interview until she discovers that what Mark is really looking for is a receptionist, not the office manager for whom he advertised.

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Watch your back, Oscar

January 04, 2013 - by: Doug Hall 2 COMMENTS
Doug Hall

Litigation Value: $250,000 in attorneys’ fees and to settle Oscar’s claims–unless his guilt and his desire not to embarrass himself or out the Senator by disclosing their affair keeps him from making a big deal out of it.

A holiday season rerun of “The Target,” first covered by my colleague Brian Kurtz a few weeks ago: The main story line, and the one with potential for labor and employment exposure, centers on Angela enlisting Dwight’s help in locating a “hit man” to kneecap Oscar in payback for his affair with Angela’s husband, the Senator. Dwight doesn’t realize that Oscar is the intended target at first, and when he learns that is the case, he ultimately is successful in helping stop the “hit” before it can occur (though he does get a kick in the shins from Angela).

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What NOT to wear to an interview

September 27, 2012 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

Litigation value: $0.00, but only because Pete has a conscience and Daryl is a cinephile.

In last week’s season premier, new guy Pete was compared to Jim, while other new guy Clark was compared to Dwight. I’m all good with the former comparison, but the latter is waaaay off. Dwight beds his women using blunt Shrute charm. Clark’s ruse to seduce Erin was plain creepy. Thankfully Pete stepped in because Andy was clueless.

If not for Pete’s intervention as makeup man, Dunder Mifflin may be defending a lawsuit by Erin for negligence. Consider the facts. Branch manager Andy acquires knowledge that one of his young male employees intends to lure one of his young female employees back to his apartment, ply her with wine, doll her up in sexy outfits, and film her. Andy’s response? Here, take my credit card. (Shaking head sadly.)

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Whoa Nellie!

March 29, 2012 - by: Doug Hall 0 COMMENTS
Doug Hall

Litigation Value: None, though as a practical matter, Dunder Mifflin may have to make good on all those raises Nellie promised.

As tonight’s episode is a rerun, I thought I’d go back and review the March 15th episode (“Get the Girl”) that we managed to miss somehow. (For a recap of tonight’s repeat, “Mrs. California,” check out Kristin Gray’s excellent post from when it first aired — http://blogs.hrhero.com/thatswhatshesaid/2011/12/02/stand-by-me/).

Two plots run throughout this episode: Andy’s impetuous decision to drive to Florida to try to convince Erin to return to Scranton with him, and the shocking revelation that Nellie has been hired at the branch — and how she takes advantage of Andy’s absence to stage a coup and take his job. The first plot, though interesting for those of us who want the show to reach some sort of resolution about Andy and Erin already, has no obvious employment law liability issues. Erin no longer works for Dunder Mifflin, plus she’s sweet on Andy, so no risk of a sexual harassment claim against the company there.

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Uncle Michael Wants YOU — To Be the New Boss

August 18, 2011 - by: Doug Hall 0 COMMENTS
Doug Hall

Another Thursday in August, another Office rerun. Rather than revisit “The Inner Circle” — ably covered by my Colorado colleague Matt Rita on May 6 — I thought I’d visit The Office website for some ideas. I came across a multiple-choice quiz designed to determine whether you have what it takes to be the boss of Dunder Mifflin-Sabre’s Scranton branch. Check it out, and take it for yourself.

The quiz is, of course, replete with humorous answers you can choose, to questions that you might actually hear (or pose) during an actual interview (well, some of them at least). One of my favorites is in response to the question about how to best handle interpersonal conflicts within the office: “One word: Thunderdome.” Kudos to the creators of the quiz, as the response you get at the end does seem to vary based on the types of answers you provide. (I took the quiz a couple of times just to check.)

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Give My Regards to Andy

July 01, 2011 - by: Jaclyn West 5 COMMENTS
Jaclyn West

As you know, dear readers, this summer Ford & Harrison has taken on the gargantuan task of helping Sabre sift through the many eager and hopeful candidates for Michael Scott’s replacement. We’ve already discussed Dwight Schrute and Darryl Philbin, from among the internal applicants, and outside candidate Robert California. But there’s one more internal candidate, and I’d like to focus on him today. That’s right, paper fans, I’m talking about Scranton’s own a cappella wunderkind, Mr. Andrew Bernard.

At first, I was worried that Andy was going to shoot himself in the foot (or the eardrum — groan, sorry) because he seemed so set on playing it cool. Andy clearly wanted to be considered for the manager’s job, but didn’t want to come across as wanting it too badly. Unfortunately for Andy, he didn’t get much of a shot at all, since Gabe — who had come completely unhinged after Erin’s rejection — was set on derailing any chance Andy may have had. Gabe twisted Andy’s words, even turning Andy’s insightful suggestion about improving communication within the office against poor Nard-Dog. And when Jo suggested giving Andy a look, mentioning his educational credentials, Gabe immediately dismissed the idea. Personally, I’m hoping that with Gabe now back in Florida, the rest of the search committee will recognize that Andy didn’t get a fair shake in his interview, and give him another chance to show why he should run the branch.

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And the Beet Goes On

June 02, 2011 - by: Doug Hall 0 COMMENTS
Doug Hall

In the words of the incomparable Monty Python troupe – now for something completely different. With the season over and Michael departed, I decided that, rather than review a rerun, I’d share some thoughts about one of the putative candidates to replace Michael. I’ve decided to focus on the character we all love to hate, the beet farmer from birth, the senpai of his dojo – Dwight Kurt Schrute III.

If desire for the job were the only requirement, Dwight would be a shoo-in.  The week that he spent as Acting Manager clearly was one of the highlights of his life – a period he described as one of “maximum happiness” – and he went to extraordinary lengths in an effort to be reconsidered for the position after being disqualified for accidentally shooting Andy, including wrapping himself in bandages and bribing members of the search committee.  He also could lay claim to the position based on his skills as a salesman, which would be one of the best examples of the Peter Principle in action.  Dwight would be an unmitigated disaster as Manager of the branch on so many levels including, for our purposes, with respect to potential employment law liability.

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Still a Disaster, Thankfully

May 20, 2011 - by: Joshua Drexler 1 COMMENTS
Joshua Drexler

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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Sex Sells (OK, No It Doesn’t)

May 01, 2010 - by: Chris Butler 0 COMMENTS
Chris Butler

Litigation Value: $250,000 for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring, and negligent entrustment.

Well, folks, the quintessential horndog – Michael Scott – is back on the stick. And this week, he didn’t disappoint. Michael’s recent announcement that this may be his final year sitting in the boss chair makes us wonder who will replace him; as if anyone could. We’ll address that later.

All right, so check it out: An attractive female, and potential Sabre customer, let’s just call her Donna (because that’s her name), visits the office dressed in eye-catching semi-business wear. Michael wastes no time in jokingly asking: “Did somebody order a hooker?” Soon thereafter, Michael interrupts Jim and Pam Halpert’s PowerPoint sales presentation by offering Donna a dog-eared Victoria’s Secret catalog. Michael further attempts to get Donna “turned on” by hijacking the presentation, superimposing wistful photos of himself, both fully clothed and facetiously standing behind a semi-nude strongman cutout (including an unnamed underwear model).

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Might Doesn’t Make Right, Dwight

October 01, 2009 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

This week’s episode — “The Promotion” — had nothing to do with advancement in the workplace. In fact, the only thing it promoted was how to get fired. When the episode ended, I identified five Scranton employees whom David Wallace should discharge if he wants to minimize potential liability:

Dwight. He opened the episode fantasizing about placing Jim in a “triangle choke hold.” Later on he disrupted the workplace with an impassioned attempt to enlist his coworkers to “drag [Jim] out of his office.” The Office is funny, but workplace violence … not so much. Dwight’s threats were even more egregious because they were unprovoked, and Dwight repeatedly targeted a single employee. Prudent employers take a zero-tolerance approach to workplace violence. An employer that retains an employee it knows has threatened coworkers is begging for costly litigation and bad press. Just about every company not named Dunder Mifflin would have let Dwight go that day.

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