Grease Lightning

October 07, 2011 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: allowing office staff to take over the warehouse and invent a new loading method = several bizarre Workers’ Compensation claims; Andy asking Oscar about his “wildest fantasy guy” while choosing new warehouse personnel = yet more fodder for Oscar’s potential claims; and controlling your own destiny = priceless.

This week’s episode started off with the warehouse crew winning the lottery and promptly resigning to pursue other dreams, including opening adult entertainment venues and creating “an energy drink for Asian homosexuals.”  Darryl is less than thrilled for his former warehouse co-workers, given that he used to participate in the lottery before his promotion and the crew won using the numbers from his birthday.  Darryl is too depressed to complete his task of hiring a replacement warehouse crew, which leads Andy to ask for volunteers to ship the day’s orders.  With Dwight, Jim, Erin, and Kevin covering the warehouse, what could go wrong?  One damaged wall, one mostly empty shipping truck, one lost customer, several injuries, and numerous greasy paper boxes later, Darryl and Andy both learn to have a greater appreciation for experienced warehouse crews.

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Drum Roll, Please

September 15, 2011 - by: Matt Rita 0 COMMENTS

To prepare us for next week’s season premiere of The Office, NBC concludes the summer rerun schedule with a replay of last season’s finale. The intrigue and chicanery surrounding the search committee’s efforts have been well documented in prior posts dating back to the spring. And, my fellow bloggers and I have thoroughly vetted both the internal candidates to succeed Michael Scott (including Kelly Kapoor, Dwight Schrute, Darryl Philbin and Andy Bernard) and the outsiders who were interviewed (such as David Brent, Fred Henry and Robert California). Now, with changes to the show’s cast well known, it’s all over but the shouting. (Somebody give me a “BOBODDY!”)

The ascendancy of a new regional manager in Scranton will almost certainly change the workplace “vibe” at Dunder Mifflin. Compared to the ostentatious style of Steve Carell‘s beloved character, James Spader‘s alter ego will likely seem brusque. But, so long as Robert California treats everyone with the same degree of condescension, the risk of employment litigation should be no greater than it was before. Then again, if Pennsylvania were to become one of the growing number of states to propose laws against workplace bullying, we could soon see the case of Kevin Malone, et al. v. Sabre filed in the Common Pleas Court. We’ll have to watch the upcoming episodes before trying to quantify that potential liability.

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He Creeps Me Out, But He Might Be a Genius

Litigation Value: likely to skyrocket with Robert California’s new sex-fueled approach to paper sales.

The word around The Office is that James Spader will be returning next season as Robert California, a character Paul Lieberstein (a.k.a. Toby) has described as “this uber-salesman that has a power to convince and manipulate like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior.”  It appears he’ll be hired as the new manager only to take over the Company and become its new CEO in the blink of an eye. As a fan of Spader and his quirky role on Boston Legal, this blogger could not be more excited about this casting development.

When we last saw Robert on the season finale, he had some unusual advice for the sales team. “There is no such thing as a ‘product.’ There is only sex. Everything is sex. You understand what I’m telling you is a universal truth.” As my fellow blogger, Matt Rita, pointed out in his recent post, this certainly does not bode well for the Company’s litigation costs. I am sure Robert will give us plenty of material for this blog. To return the favor, here is my advice (or universal truths) to Robert on dealing with the gang at Dunder Mifflin Sabre.

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A Man of Great Confidence

June 24, 2011 - by: Matt Rita 2 COMMENTS

With summer officially upon us, we resume the daunting task of helping the search committee sift through the would-be successors to Michael Scott. Turning our focus to outside candidates, this post evaluates a man whose ego is as big as the state for which he is named: Robert California.

Delivering a Walken-esque performance, James Spader‘s character dominates the interview process. When it appears that his experience selling deep-sea drilling and other refinery equipment has little to do with Dunder Mifflin’s paper business, he deftly shifts the discussion to “universal truths,” literally defining away the very existence of products. By interview’s end, Mr. California has the committee members answering his (largely rhetorical) questions, lending credence to Gabe’s assessment that he may be overqualified.

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Still a Disaster, Thankfully

May 20, 2011 - by: Joshua Drexler 1 COMMENTS

car wreckLitigation Value: minimum $250,000 if Dwight gets the job.

C’mon, let’s be honest. You watched the season finale of The Office for the same reason that millions of fans watch NASCAR. You knew a pile-up was coming. And you kind of hoped the crash would be fantastically terrible — so long as no one was terribly injured.

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The Pack(er) is Back!

February 24, 2011 - by: Doug Hall 1 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: At the end of the day, shockingly little, given that it was a Packer-based episode.

So who has two thumbs and thinks Sabre/Dunder-Mifflin dodged a bullet after Todd Packer returned to The Office?  This guy!

Tonight’s episode finds Michael’s BFF Packer looking to come in from the road and reclaim “his” desk (which has been Dwight’s desk for the past 10 years). We’ve seen Packer’s sophomoric antics before, and they have been fertile ground for potential employment liability. True to form, Packer pretends to hump Michael and Dwight as they crawl under Dwight’s desk, refers to his own daughter as a “bitch,” and makes jokes about Kevin’s weight and intelligence (certainly not the first Office dweller to do that). Things get so bad that Holly, who initially supported Packer’s reentry to the office, is forced to tell Michael what a jerk Packer is.

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Let’s Get It On…

February 11, 2011 - by: Joshua Drexler 4 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: none now, but plenty in the making.

Studio 54 was a nightclub in New York City with infamously loose rules related to sexual expression. Rumor has it that back-room rendezvous were the norm. Sabre/Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton office may be trying to give the club a run for its money.

Dwight Schrute reminded us that practically everyone in the office has had sex there at some point. Jim and Pam got it on last night. We’re not sure where they did the deed, but after imbibing during lunch, they almost hooked up in a cardboard box. Ryan actually extended an invitation for them to use his closet/office.

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Ain’t No Business Like Snow Business

December 10, 2010 - by: Chris Butler 2 COMMENTS

Blawg 100Litigation Value: Not much, yet; but, potentially millions if Dwight goes on a murderous rampage.

Is hurling snowballs really that big a deal?! Last week, it was the Cincinnati Bearcats mascot; this week, it’s Dwight Schrute and Jim Halpert — one gets arrested, the other two undergo corrective counseling.

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

December 03, 2010 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS

Blawg 100Litigation Value: Front-row seat for the epic Michael v. Oscar battle of the wits = $0; coffee from the office coffee bar = a shocking $8 per cup;  watching Dwight fail miserably at drinking coffee with his toes = priceless.

In this week’s episode, Oscar and Michael battle it out to see who is the smartest person in the office, while Dwight and Pam face off about Dwight’s new cost-saving measures in the building. Let the Scranton games begin.

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It’s a WUPHF World

November 20, 2010 - by: Jaclyn West 5 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Probably no liability to Sabre, although several employees stood to lose their investments in Wuphf.com.

This week’s episode of The Office focused on Dunder Mifflin/Sabre’s own budding social media king, Ryan Howard. We first learned about Ryan’s new social media company, WUPHF, last season when the most recent IT guy, “Glasses,” mined the employees’ hard drives and we all discovered how many ways Dunder Mifflin employees have dreamed up to waste company time. Well, it looks like Ryan has continued to work on his personal dream of further expanding the social media landscape and creating a world where none of us is ever safe from Kelly’s calls, IMs, Tweets, Facebook messages, and LinkedIn invitations. Ryan’s goal of creating a social media empire has continued to evolve on company time and using company resources, much to Erin’s chagrin. (Was I the only one who LOL’ed when Erin whispered “All that color” with intense emotion after Ryan unveiled his WUPHF poster, created on Sabre printers, no doubt?)

But wasting company time and resources isn’t what I want to talk about today, although I could write a novel about the ways Scranton employees have come up with to put Dunder Mifflin’s resources to unsanctioned use. (My personal favorite — the Dunder Mifflin Olympics from Season 2. I dream of medalling in Flonkerton.) And that certainly was on my mind as I watched this episode — after all, Jim devoted a large chunk of the episode to adapting Jo’s book into a way to torture Gabe over the phone. Jim did have a good point: Changing the policy to put a cap on commissions did remove his incentive to work hard, once he had reached the cap, and Gabe’s failure to recognize the possible productivity issue may come back to bite the company later. But we can talk about that another time, since I expect Jim’s reign of unproductive terror is not over.

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