Fox and Found

April 01, 2011 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Squiggle Quips = $3.95 per package; delicious dinner without your wallet = an embarrassing (and defamatory) mugshot on the restaurant wall; finding out Angela publicly joked about urinating on Gabe = priceless.

Last night provided us with an evening of reruns, but I love The Office and have been known to watch episodes repeatedly (much to my husband’s chagrin).  My colleague did an excellent job discussing this episode in his previous post, but we can still have a little fun this week. The episode starts out with a bang when Kelly and Ryan announce they are getting divorced — wait, when did they get married?! — and it only gets better from there.

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Categories: Michael Scott

Pushing the Limits of PDA

March 18, 2011 - by: Joshua Drexler 0 COMMENTS

When last night’s episode originally aired on February 10, 2011, I noted that the Scranton office more closely resembled a nightclub at the height of the sexual revolution than a reputable place of business — see my original commentary entitled “Let’s Get It On.” I discussed recent findings on the prevalence of workplace dating, as well as the inherent liability risks with office romances.

This time I’m going to focus more narrowly on the issue of PDA, or “Public Display of Affection,” as Michael and Holly’s exhibition is worthy of the record books. Their fondling, caressing, heavy breathing, etc., made everyone around them nauseatingly uncomfortable. Michael and Holly were so engrossed in each other that they were oblivious to their own PDA – an intervention was required just to bring it to their attention.

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Saying Goodbye

March 11, 2011 - by: Matt Rita 0 COMMENTS

It’s “déjà vu all over again” for this blogger, who already saw and wrote about tonight’s episode of The Office — both when it was being filmed and as it later aired. What then to post? Well, for good or ill, recent events in the broadcasting world have shed light on an important and recurring topic in our area of practice: ending an employment relationship. Or, in more colloquial terms, we might describe it as “saying goodbye.”

“Beware the Ides of March,” the soothsayer warned Caesar, not long before Brutus et alia facilitated the Roman dictator’s permanent “goodbye” (or “vale“) in 44 B.C. And now, with the ides still a few days away in 2011 A.D., the month of March has already offered up three high-profile examples of other “goodbyes” in the public arena. While lacking complete information about the separations in question, we can look to their published accounts as representing a broad spectrum of employee departures. In order of ascending preference:

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Categories: Michael Scott

Employee Performance Evaluation: Holly Flax

March 04, 2011 - by: Jaclyn West 2 COMMENTS

Last night, my television was playing a marathon of “Office” repeats, leaving us without new catastrophes to dissect. So in an attempt to find something to share with you folks, I contacted my mole in Sabre’s corporate human resources department to see what’s new down in Tallahassee. As it turns out, I have a special treat for you: Holly Flax’s performance evaluation. Want to see if Sabre shares Ford & Harrison’s concerns about Holly’s effectiveness as an HR manager? Read on, friends…


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Categories: Holly Flax / HR / Michael Scott

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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Threat Level Midnight, a/k/a There’s An Hour of My Life I’ll Never Get Back

February 18, 2011 - by: Matt Scott 1 COMMENTS

It was another nonproductive workday at The Office. After 10 years, Michael’s little known, self-written, self-produced, self-directed, and self-starred-in movie, Threat Level Midnight, finally debuted in Scranton. Despite a private staff-only viewing a few years back in which the movie was mistakenly taken for a comedy (it’s really Michael’s rip-off of James Bond and Austin Powers themes), this time the movie finally got shown to completion. And what did it show?

Of course, with Michael Scott’s fingerprints all over it, it doesn’t take long for the inappropriateness to kick in. It starts with a threat by villain Golden Face (played by Jim Halpert). Golden Face tells his hostages he plans to dig up the dead wife of Michael’s James Bond-esque hero, Michael Scarn (played of course by Michael), and “hump her real good.” From there, we get overt sexual innuendo when Pam’s mom, Mrs. Beasley, playing a hospital nurse, displays serious cleavage. Later Michael is asked by one female participant in a local bachelor party (played by Jim’s old flame, Karen Filippelli) if he’s ever “banged an entire bachelorette party.” Toward the end, Michael’s old offensive friend, Todd Packer, throws out an offensive term for homosexuals.

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Categories: Michael Scott

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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Sticky Quips

February 03, 2011 - by: Brian Kurtz 4 COMMENTS

Litigation value: $8.99 + tip for Michael’s “free” lunch, although Michael’s tort action for false imprisonment against Mr. Chu and the Chinese restaurant will more than cover it.

From an employment liability perspective, it is probably a good thing for Dunder Mifflin/Sabre that Michael’s character is leaving the show soon. One suspects that his soon-to-be-rekindled relationship with coworker Holly will not end well. Which is too bad because we learned this week that Holly and Michael are quite literally of one mind. But this is The Office, and when the relationship goes down in flames (and it will), one of my colleagues will write about it on this page.

The main plot line in this week’s episode, “The Search,” is — wait for it — the search for Michael as he roams the streets of Scranton sans wallet and phone. But the real action for the employment lawyer is back in the office where Pam has done a drawing and is putting on a caption contest. Consider Gabe’s contest “ground rules”:

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It’s All Greek to Me

January 28, 2011 - by: Matt Rita 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: No immediate employment law liability. Under the applicable statute of limitations in Pennsylvania, however, Andy’s seminar invitees would have up to two years in which to claim personal (digestive) injury caused by Kevin’s “off the rails” motivational display.

The Scranton Business Park was a busy place last night, with a number of visitors spending time in and around the halls of Dunder Mifflin/Sabre. The brief appearance of one of those visitors, Ricky Gervais, will no doubt fuel speculation about whether he is the heir apparent to Steve Carell. Coupled with the anticipated arrival of Will Ferrell — with or without more cowbell — that opening cameo should keep The Office prognosticators buzzing during the weeks ahead. For now, Michael Scott and the show’s other regular characters continue to offer up workplace antics worthy of commentary.

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News Flash: Will Ferrell to Guest Star on “The Office”

January 27, 2011 - by: Jaclyn West 0 COMMENTS

Listen up, friends: We’ve recently been handed some very exciting news! According to Sabre’s corporate offices, Will Ferrell will be joining “The Office” for a four-episode arc later this season. Will and his old pal Steve Carrell will be reunited for at least three of the four episodes, as Will plays a Sabre branch manager visiting Scranton.

The entire news employment law team here at TWSS is, of course, totally pumped and looking forward to seeing what kind of shenanigans ensue. (Pun intended, ahem.) If Sabre proves to be anything like Channel 4 News in San Diego, I think we can expect some hi-larious antics to come from Michael Scott and his new “co-person.” And of course, we TWSS’ers will be here to faithfully report to you all of the potential liabilities and HR nightmares that are sure to come.  Stay tuned!

Categories: HR / Management / Michael Scott

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