Acting Koi

October 30, 2009 - by: Chris Butler 4 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: As to Dunder Mifflin, $500,000 (for potential hostile work environment, race discrimination/harassment, and/or intentional/negligent infliction of emotional distress damages); as to Andy, $25,000 (for potential assault, battery, humiliation, and emotional distress damages); as to Michael, $300 (value of decapitated koi).

Eight seconds. That’s precisely how long Michael needed to both sexually and racially harass the multitudes. To set the stage, Michael emceed the Scranton branch’s office Halloween party, staffed by Scranton branch employees and attended by their friends and families, including numerous children (and it was principally for them). Unencumbered by restraint, Michael spared no opportunity to “gift” the audience with a sexually provocative costume (paying homage to Mr. Timberlake and S.N.L.). Aside from his perpetually poor judgment, Michael’s offensive attire alone could land Dunder Mifflin with a hostile work environment lawsuit, particularly given his supervisory role. When will he learn to be the example, instead of being made the example?

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Dueling Complaints

September 25, 2009 - by: Jody Ward-Rannow 7 COMMENTS

LITIGATION VALUE:  $50,000 (in litigation costs on Darryl’s claims); damages continuing to pile up on Oscar’s claims.

In tonight’s episode, “The Meeting,” we watched as Michael interfered with Jim’s attempt to obtain a promotion and falsified documents in Jim’s personnel file (clearly a problem, but not the most interesting problem in this episode). We also watched as Toby and Dwight conducted a stakeout of Darryl’s house to investigate the workers’ compensation claim Darryl filed after he “fell off a ladder” in the warehouse.

This is “The Office,” so we knew the stakeout was a bad idea the moment Dwight suggested it, and Dwight and Toby did not disappoint. The stakeout resulted in Toby and Dwight making vulgar and inappropriate statements about Darryl’s sister. Later, we learned that Darryl lied in his workers’ compensation forms about how he was injured. Dwight threatened to file a complaint with corporate about Darryl’s falsified workers’ compensation forms. Darryl, in turn, threatened to file a sexual harassment complaint with corporate on behalf of his sister. Both men filed complaints, and Toby gets to do a lot of paperwork.

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Kevin’s Loan

December 23, 2008 - by: Dominic Verstegen 1 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: $0

It’s week 2 of our review of The Office webisodes. This time, we watched “Kevin’s Loan.” In this particularly hilarious webisode, it is revealed that Kevin has a gambling debt. He devises a scheme to pay off his debt by getting a loan to open up a mobile ice cream business. Unfortunately, there are some problems with his plan, although not with the name of one of his flavors — Fudge the Magic Dragon. Kevin enlists the help of Darryl from the warehouse, and hilarity ensues.

From a liability perspective, the main problem I see is that Kevin walks the line of committing fraud. Of course, since Dunder Mifflin isn’t in on the act with him, the company is in pretty good shape. One issue that is worth examining is: What should Oscar and Darryl have done when they became aware of what Kevin was doing on company time?

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Safety Training (with Guest Blogger Jason Loring)

April 12, 2007 - by: Julie Elgar 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: $40,000

Duty calls and Julie is not able to blog this week due to work. I’m a fellow labor and employment attorney with Ford & Harrison and also a fan of the show. This week’s episode certainly did not disappoint.

The episode starts with the Dunder Mifflin employees gathered around for a “safety meeting” that is intended to teach the “office workers” about safety. (Can’t you just feel the lawsuit coming?) Darryl, the meeting leader, is on crutches. Why? Michael kicked a ladder out from underneath Darryl while he was reaching for a supply box on a top shelf. Not a good idea. If Michael was acting in the scope of his employment when he kicked out the ladder, Dunder Mifflin could certainly be on the hook for all of Darryl’s medical expenses, which could cost upwards of $40,000. Given Michael’s speckled past as a less than stellar manager, Dunder Mifflin might also be exposed to possible claims of negligent hiring and negligent retention of Michael. read more…

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