Conspiracy theory

November 30, 2012 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS

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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No woman, no cry

November 19, 2012 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Dwight’s sexual and sexist comments regarding women = additional fodder for a hostile work environment claim (not to mention Clark’s potential claims); Jim taking calls about starting a different company on Dunder Mifflin time = a potential breach of the duty of loyalty; taking another trip to crazy town with Jan = priceless.

With David Wallace unavailable (and wisely so), Dwight has the opportunity to land a major new client and boost Scranton’s sales. Unfortunately for Dwight, the potential client is female and Dwight has difficulty relating to business women. Never fear–it’s Pam to the rescue with a crash course on dealing with high-powered, shoulder pad-wearing businesswomen. It’s no surprise that Dwight has difficulty with Pam’s training but, regardless, all bets are off when the secret potential client turns out to be Jan. Dwight may have landed the sale against all odds but his success doesn’t come without consequences. Here’s my own crash course for Dwight on dealing with a professional woman.

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Crazy About Nellie

October 25, 2012 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS

Litigation value: $0.00 provided Dwight reins in his hostility to Nellie’s anxiety meds.

Amidst the costumes, bad investments, and a cappella singers (OMG COLBERT!!!!!), this week’s episode — Here Comes Treble — reminds us that harassment on the basis of disability is just as verboten in the workplace as sex- or race-based harassment. Dwight found a little yellow pill under the sofa and learned it was anxiety medication. So he started hunting for the office “crazy person.” He eventually learned that the medication was Nellie’s and fortunately left it alone after that.

But what if instead Dwight started teasing Nellie for being on anxiety medication? And what if Nellie complained about Dwight to Andy but nothing was done, or worse, Andy joined in the teasing? And what if Dwight’s unremedied teasing made Nellie’s condition worse, even to the point that she could not work anymore?

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Three Dwight Circus

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

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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Dunder Mifflin, We Hardly Knew Ye

August 30, 2012 - by: Doug Hall 0 COMMENTS

It is August 30, 2012, the night of a blue moon, and I’m a bit blue with the news earlier in the week that this will be the last season for The Office. So I thought I’d crack open a Blue Moon (OK, not literally — taking some literary license here) and share some thoughts about what made the show — and writing this blog — so enjoyable.

The heart and the soul of The Office, what made it work so well (while also giving us ample material for the blog), was the Michael Scott character. Although he was the Regional Manager, and thus “the boss,” Michael was an underdog, and everyone likes an underdog (except President Snow from The Hunger Games — but I digress). Lonely as a child, unlucky in love, clueless in the extreme about the political sensitivities his comments offended, we rooted for him to succeed — in large part, I think, because we knew that he had the best of intentions and cared deeply for his “family” at work. If his character had not been so sympathetic (as was sometimes the case in the first season), the show would not have enjoyed its success or longevity. Plus, virtually every employee in the office would have sued the company for some sort of harassment or emotional distress if they hadn’t felt the same way.

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Moments Like This

June 01, 2012 - by: Jaclyn West 1 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: It’s been quite a season. ‘Nuff said.

We’re into the summer re-run season, and I’m still rolling with my love of the top-10 list. And even though we missed Michael Scott this season — oh, how we missed him — our favorite crew of paper salesmen and women definitely delivered their share of laughs and cringeworthy episodes. So here are 10 of my favorite moments, organized (roughly) in order, from Season 8 of The Office.

10. Angela calling Child Protective Services on Pam because Pam drank herbal tea out of a cup that once held coffee and might have trace amounts of caffeine in it — and then telling Pam about the call during their pregnant ladies’ walking club. I’m guessing CPS didn’t consider that tip a high priority.

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Andy Goes Soft

April 19, 2012 - by: Brian Kurtz 5 COMMENTS

Litigation value: $200,000 for Andy’s severe emotional distress. Possible future litigation for his termination.

Not subtle. Not subtle at all. Nellie has already usurped Andy’s manager status. Then she hauls Andy and his coworkers into a conference room and writes “IMPOTENCE” in bright red letters on the flip chart. Robert California sits there, amused by the whole spectacle.

The tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress has four elements: (1) extreme and outrageous conduct (2) inflicted intentionally or recklessly (3) that caused emotional distress, and (4) the distress was severe. Applying these factors to this episode, Andy has a viable action against Dunder Mifflin.

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That’s What Friends Are For

March 10, 2012 - by: Jaclyn West 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Nothing much to speak of, although Dwight will hopefully value Jim a little bit higher now.

Well, Dwight has a lot to thank Jim for after this week. I’d like to think that he might improve his attitude and behavior toward Jim — and the rest of the office, for that matter — but I don’t see that happening. Still, after Jim saved Dwight’s job, one hopes Dwight will be grateful. Discovering that Robert California was planning to tank the retail store idea and make Dwight the scapegoat — it turns out Robert hated the idea, but couldn’t veto it outright because “the great Jo Bennet” wanted retail stores — Jim showed an admirable determination to save Dwight’s career, despite Dwight’s incessant needling and taunting about his “victory.”

Personally, I wouldn’t have blamed Jim if he walked away after the first attempt to reach Dwight. (Being called a six-foot Hobbit had to hurt.) After all, Dwight hasn’t made much of an effort to be a good co-worker over the years we’ve known him. Who among us would have been sorry to see him go, if we had to work with him? Still, some of my favorite “Office” moments are those when Dwight and Jim team up, or when we see flashes of possibility for a friendship to develop between them. It probably never will — there’s too much bad blood there — but Jim’s gesture last night certainly gave me a lot of respect for him. (And for Pam, too, for encouraging Jim to help Dwight out.)

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Pyramid

March 01, 2012 - by: Brian Kurtz 1 COMMENTS

Litigation value: $150,000. This isn’t Hooters, Dwight. Requiring Kathy to flirt with customers is sexual harassment. Additional damages if Todd Packer plays his sexual predator role as well as we suspect he can.

“Bloggers are gross. Bloggers are obese. Bloggers have halitosis.”

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Tighten Your Saddles

February 24, 2012 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 1 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Cathy showing Jim the “Talla-Nasty” = yet more fodder for Jim’s sexual harassment lawsuit; five dots = a murky texting area and potential lawsuit for Darryl; and watching Dwight work himself into a human bedbug trap = priceless.

This After Hours episode has the gang engaging in conduct that should make any human resources professional cringe. Tighten your saddles, because it is bound to be a bumpy ride. While the Scranton branch is working late, the Florida team is hitting the hotel bar scene for some debauchery. As we have mentioned in previous posts, the fact that the conduct occurs outside the workplace does not necessarily free an employer from liability, particularly when a supervisor instructs her employees that bar attendance is “compulsory.” 

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