Dunder-Sponsored Drinking

November 14, 2008 - by: Troy Foster 4 COMMENTS

Cost of drinks: $500
Litigation Value: $100,000 – $1,000,000 (depends on how seriously someone gets hurt and who it is)
Watching the Drunken Debauchery: Priceless, but probably not worth the risk.

The problem that caught my attention during the “Business” Trip episode of The Office was the company-sponsored drinking event that led to Andy and Oscar drunk-dialing Angel and Michael going home with the concierge. When employees get drunk at office parties, the company can be held liable for their actions.

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Office Masquerades as Good Employer

October 31, 2008 - by: Troy Foster 0 COMMENTS

Cost of Trips: $800

Potential Exposure for Out-of-Office Accidents: $25,000 per employee

Litigation value for Dunder Mifflin’s missteps: $0.

This has to be some kind of record. For the fourth week in a row on The Office, we have a new episode in which no one at Dunder Mifflin did anything to put the company at risk of some sort of judgment for money damages. (Note — if Darryl touched Holly in the truck on the way to Nashua, that could have opened the company up to something.)

Of course, the reason the company can’t be held liable for anything in the “Employee Transfer” episode is that they took The Office out of the office! Pam and Jim were in New York, and Michael, Darryl, and Holly were on the road. The only storyline in the office revolved around Dwight messing with Andy about applying to Cornell. No one’s getting sued for that — unless Cornell sues The Office for defamation.

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Categories: Andy Bernard / Dwight Schrute / HR

The Right Interview Questions

August 21, 2008 - by: Troy Foster 0 COMMENTS

We’re in the middle of election season and the race for the White House. When you’re deciding between McCain and Obama, perhaps it would help if you treated the election like what it really is: a job interview.

Sometimes the questions the candidates are asked are ridiculous (boxers or briefs), and sometimes the answers the candidates give are ridiculous (they misunderestimated me!). But are these examples that different from actual experiences we’ve all had in interviews, or from questions that Dwight asked Andy during his interview for the Assistant to the Regional Manager job when they thought Michael Scott was leaving? (What is the best color? How do you make a table? What is the capital of Maine?) Well, maybe.

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The “Newpeats”

March 16, 2007 - by: Julie Elgar 3 COMMENTS

LITIGATION VALUE: STILL 300,000+ (for the time being. . . )

I don’t think that the “newpeats” introduced any new story lines that would significantly increase the litigation value for these episodes – for the time being. It would, after all, be harder to make things much worse. Having a regional manager tell a Hispanic employee that his Mexican heritage “defines” who he is and then suggesting that he ride a donkey to the Mexican-themed office party in his honor is going to remain a troublesome little piece of evidence. But we already knew that, didn’t we?

Let’s talk for a minute about Andy’s little outburst. I can’t seem to figure out why Dunder Mifflin didn’t just fire him. He punched a hole in the wall. At work. Sure, we all want to do the same thing some time, but we don’t. It’s called impulse control. Andy doesn’t have it. Why would Dunder Mifflin want to keep someone like that? While anger management training would be a step in the right direction for an employee worth salvaging, Andy is not one of those employees. He performed terribly at his sales call, created morale issues and conflict in the workplace, and he is, quite simply, a bit of a weasel. And what happens if the next time that Andy loses his temper he injures someone? We lawyers like to call that “negligent retention.” And, unlike Oscar’s claim, it has no damage caps.

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