The Job

May 18, 2007 - by: Julie Elgar 2 COMMENTS

LITIGATION VALUE: $50,000 (with the potential for a whole lot more)

So Creed has joined the millions of people blogging at (and about) work. I’d say that this could definitely cause trouble for Dunder Mifflin when Creed eventually learns how to post his musings on something more than a Microsoft Word document. Believe it or not, there are actual cases being brought by employees who have been dooced (fired) over the content of their blogs. Take, for example, the flight attendant who was fired for posting photographs of herself stretched out on a row of seats with her uniform hiked up and her bra showing. She sued the airline for sex discrimination. There is also a journalist who got dooced for posting a critical play-by-play about her company and its bad management practices. Dunder Mifflin should be very afraid of what the Scranton employees could post about their work place. Especially if Creed actually learns how to post his entries online or, god forbid, he learns how to post photographs.

As for Jan and her unfortunate demise, I think she may have a claim. Not a good one but a claim nonetheless. After all, she was fired and replaced by a younger male temp who has very little seniority and no management experience just a few days after she “enhanced” her more feminine qualities. Jan could also claim that Dunder Mifflin fired her because it “regarded her” as having a mental disability. After all, the CFO did tell her that she was “clearly unstable” when he terminated her. While Jan probably won’t be the next big winner in the litigation lotto, it will still cost some money to defend. But with any luck, Jan’s attorneys won’t be able to use anything from Creed’s blog as evidence in the lawsuit.

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Product Recall

April 27, 2007 - by: Julie Elgar 1 COMMENTS

LITIGATION VALUE: $45,000

Creed’s actions in setting up Debbie Brown to be fired for his mistake were not, in and of themselves, illegal. And, if Dunder Mifflin acted in good faith when it fired Debbie, then it probably didn’t do anything illegal either. At least not on the facts in this episode.

Employees can be fired for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. Employers can even be mistaken about the facts that led them to fire someone, so long as they believed them to be true at the time. The reason for firing someone just can’t be an illegal (i.e., discriminatory) reason. While that is the legal rule, I wouldn’t recommend that managers go around firing people without a good reason. In today’s litigious climate, sometimes perfectly legal (albeit unfair) actions can, and often do, cost a whole bunch of money. After all, companies don’t sit on juries. Employees do. Plus, as we saw, the company could end up with disgruntled employees who leave them with a warehouse full of paper containing obscene watermarks involving cartoon characters engaged in unspeakable acts.

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Categories: Creed Bratton / Firing

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