Finale

May 17, 2013 - by: Brian Kurtz 2 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

Litigation Value:  Bless your heart if you’re still keeping track at this point.

This blog has always focused on bad behavior.  We tease out employment law issues by writing about the characters who do things in the workplace that one simply does not do. So last night’s series finale of the The Office poses quite a challenge in that most of the characters, with a few notable exceptions, exhibited exemplary behavior.

Take Dwight, for example. There was hope early on when he gave Kevin his “Get Out”  that he might fuel a few lawsuits. It was not to be. By the end of the episode, Dwight was careful to turn Pam and Jim’s departure into a termination just so he could offer them a generous severance package. After all these years, Jim has gone from Dwight’s mortal enemy to his bestest mensch.

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No nonsense

Kristin Starnes Gray

Litigation Value:  Office romance with the new Regional Manager (and A.A.R.M.) = fodder for a potential sexual harassment claim; eliminating nonsense from the workplace = every human resources manager’s dream; Dwight giving up a milk maid to marry his long-time love and father his beet-loving offspring = priceless.

As John Krasinski explained in a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, Thursday’s episode marked the first half of a two-part series finale for The Office. As a side note, I definitely recommend you check out the interview on www.nbc.com.  The lip-syncing competition, which featured a bearded Krasinski passionately singing “I’ll Make Love to You” to Fallon, was comic gold.

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Bye Bye Bye

March 29, 2013 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

Litigation Value: Michael’s Antics over the Years = Too Many Zeros to Count; Collateral Damage from the Dwight/Jim Feud over the Years = Some Unfortunate Workers’ Compensation Claims; Getting a Super-Sized Finale = Priceless.   

Given that my esteemed colleague, Jaclyn, has addressed the Moving On episode twice now, I thought I would focus on our upcoming finale. The word is that, although we will get to see Kelly and Ryan again before all is said and done, our beloved Michael Scott will not be returning for the final episode. I would like to think that he and Holly are too busy happily raising the children Michael has long dreamed of (and even considered adopting on his own until he heard about the pesky waiting period). Regardless, here is my wish list for the finale.

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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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Conspiracy theory

November 30, 2012 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

Potential Liability: Angela and Trevor are going to jail. Dwight too?

Not even Rainn Wilson’s recent video could keep us from watching this week’s episode, “The Target,” which featured a murder-for-hire plot, a giant comment-card pyramid, and Dwight’s pixelated genitalia. Yikes, indeed.

Angela has discovered that her husband, The Senator, is having an affair with Oscar. She does not react well and enlists (who else?) Dwight to procure the services of Trevor, a hapless wannabe killer for-hire. Spoiler alert: Trevor does not kill Oscar. In fact, Trevor does not even maim Oscar. This is in part due to Trevor’s incompetence, in part due to Oscar’s obvious self-defense training, and in part due to Dwight’s last-minute intervention to prevent Oscar from being knee-capped. Oscar is unharmed, but that is not going to stop Angela and Trevor from going to prison, and possibly Dwight, too.

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Three Dwight Circus

September 24, 2012 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 4 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

Litigation Value: Andy’s vocal hatred for Nelly = fodder for her brewing constructive discharge and breach of contract case; New versus Old Dwight dynamic = possible future age discrimination issues; watching Old Dwight’s jealous alter ego attempt a terrifying stunt in the parking lot to put New Dwight in his place = priceless.

The Office kicked off its final season with quite a bang. With a New Dwight (“Dwight Jr.”) and a New Jim (“Plop”), Oscar’s secret affair with The Senator, growing tensions between Jim and Pam over career issues, and the big reveal about the paternity of Angela’s baby, this season should be an interesting one. Andy is back and relishing his role as Regional Manager except for one small problem–Nellie is still lurking around. Hopefully Outward Bound has not resurrected angry wall-punching Andy.   

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Office Olympics

August 02, 2012 - by: Adam Klarfeld 0 COMMENTS
Adam Klarfeld

With the Olympics in full swing this summer, reruns of The Office have been replaced with reruns of the Olympics (OK, tape-delayed events, but you get the idea). I can only assume this means that every workplace in the entire world is now hosting its very own office-themed Olympics with events ranging from office-chair races to Flonkerton. (In Season 2, Episode 3, we learned that Flonkerton is (obviously) the Icelandic term for “Box of Paper Snowshoe Racing,” the national sport of “Icelandic paper companies.” The Scranton branch competed in Flonkerton as part of the first Dundler Mifflin Olympiad.)   

Naturally, and like most fun things at work, workplace-sponsored Olympics (and all extracurricular activities for that matter -– both on and off the premises) have associated legal risks. (Surprisingly, nobody from Dunder Mifflin seems to actually have been hurt in that episode.) If an employee is injured at your office’s Olympics, here are the general legal topics implicated:

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Some Friendly Advice

January 27, 2012 - by: Jaclyn West 0 COMMENTS
Jaclyn West

Litigation Value: Nada, Zero, Zilch. Interview Advice: Priceless.

No “Office” last night, fellow Scrantonites! (Scrantonians?) I didn’t know what to do with myself all evening. And since we don’t have a new episode – or even a rerun – to discuss, I did what I do best and made a list.

Top 10 Things NOT To Say When Interviewing For A Job At Dunder Mifflin Paper Company:

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Merry Mifflin

December 16, 2011 - by: Jaclyn West 0 COMMENTS
Jaclyn West

Litigation Value: Lots and lots of coal in everybody’s stockings!

Last night’s episode of The Office was a repeat of the night we were introduced to Pam’s temporary replacement, Kathy. Since my colleague Josh Drexler ably covered that episode when it aired a few weeks ago, I thought I’d just take this opportunity to look back at all the holiday fun our friends at Dunder Mifflin have experienced over the years. Here are my top 10 “Dunder Mifflin Holiday Moments” of the past seven seasons:

10. Playing “Yankee Swap” at the season 2 Christmas party… Michael’s dissatisfaction with his sweetly hand-knit gift from Phyllis led to a free-for-all in which everyone tried to win the iPod he had bought for Ryan (despite a $20 price limit).

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Dwight. Pray. Love.

June 16, 2011 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

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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