Finale

May 17, 2013 - by: Brian Kurtz 2 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

Litigation Value:  Bless your heart if you’re still keeping track at this point.

This blog has always focused on bad behavior.  We tease out employment law issues by writing about the characters who do things in the workplace that one simply does not do. So last night’s series finale of the The Office poses quite a challenge in that most of the characters, with a few notable exceptions, exhibited exemplary behavior.

Take Dwight, for example. There was hope early on when he gave Kevin his “Get Out”  that he might fuel a few lawsuits. It was not to be. By the end of the episode, Dwight was careful to turn Pam and Jim’s departure into a termination just so he could offer them a generous severance package. After all these years, Jim has gone from Dwight’s mortal enemy to his bestest mensch.

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No nonsense

Kristin Starnes Gray

Litigation Value:  Office romance with the new Regional Manager (and A.A.R.M.) = fodder for a potential sexual harassment claim; eliminating nonsense from the workplace = every human resources manager’s dream; Dwight giving up a milk maid to marry his long-time love and father his beet-loving offspring = priceless.

As John Krasinski explained in a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, Thursday’s episode marked the first half of a two-part series finale for The Office. As a side note, I definitely recommend you check out the interview on www.nbc.com.  The lip-syncing competition, which featured a bearded Krasinski passionately singing “I’ll Make Love to You” to Fallon, was comic gold.

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Bye Bye Bye

March 29, 2013 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

Litigation Value: Michael’s Antics over the Years = Too Many Zeros to Count; Collateral Damage from the Dwight/Jim Feud over the Years = Some Unfortunate Workers’ Compensation Claims; Getting a Super-Sized Finale = Priceless.   

Given that my esteemed colleague, Jaclyn, has addressed the Moving On episode twice now, I thought I would focus on our upcoming finale. The word is that, although we will get to see Kelly and Ryan again before all is said and done, our beloved Michael Scott will not be returning for the final episode. I would like to think that he and Holly are too busy happily raising the children Michael has long dreamed of (and even considered adopting on his own until he heard about the pesky waiting period). Regardless, here is my wish list for the finale.

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Die Hard … with a Christmas vengeance

December 06, 2012 - by: Doug Hall 0 COMMENTS
Doug Hall

Litigation Value: $50,000 or so, depending on how much harm comes out of an essentially unsupervised holiday party

It is the annual Christmas episode of The Office, and it’s bittersweet as Jim and Pam talk about how this will be the last Christmas party for the both of them at Dunder Mifflin Scranton–much like it will be our last Christmas show with this group. The episode feels a bit thrown together at the last minute compared to previous Christmas shows, just like the office’s party itself. The entire office has somehow overlooked that today is the day for the Christmas party, forcing the party-planning committee to scramble to come up with something.

In the absence of any better idea, the planning committee (minus Angela) seizes on Dwight’s idea to hold a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas, just like he experienced as a child. Dwight manages to put on quite the production, complete with a visit from Belsnickel, the fur-wearing, switch-wielding Christmas gift-giver. (I, along with the denizens of The Office, was surprised to find out that Belsnickel is part of a real southwestern German tradition.) In the meantime, Jim is anxious about getting to Philly to start his new job, while Andy and Erin drift further apart, with Erin finding a shoulder to cry on, and to watch Die Hard with, when Andy informs her that he plans to stay a couple of extra weeks in Barbados (or is it the Bahamas) to “figure this life thing out.”

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No woman, no cry

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

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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Three Dwight Circus

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

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
Doug Hall

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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Office Olympics

August 02, 2012 - by: Adam Klarfeld 0 COMMENTS
Adam Klarfeld

With the Olympics in full swing this summer, reruns of The Office have been replaced with reruns of the Olympics (OK, tape-delayed events, but you get the idea). I can only assume this means that every workplace in the entire world is now hosting its very own office-themed Olympics with events ranging from office-chair races to Flonkerton. (In Season 2, Episode 3, we learned that Flonkerton is (obviously) the Icelandic term for “Box of Paper Snowshoe Racing,” the national sport of “Icelandic paper companies.” The Scranton branch competed in Flonkerton as part of the first Dundler Mifflin Olympiad.)   

Naturally, and like most fun things at work, workplace-sponsored Olympics (and all extracurricular activities for that matter -– both on and off the premises) have associated legal risks. (Surprisingly, nobody from Dunder Mifflin seems to actually have been hurt in that episode.) If an employee is injured at your office’s Olympics, here are the general legal topics implicated:

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Moments Like This

June 01, 2012 - by: Jaclyn West 1 COMMENTS
Jaclyn West

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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Ooh, Ooh, She’s Magic

April 13, 2012 - by: Jaclyn West 0 COMMENTS
Jaclyn West

Litigation Value: Not much from this episode, but if Nellie sticks around her apparent prejudice against the Irish and Hispanics could lead to some sticky legal situations.

Another week, another party in Scranton. Last night on The Office, Robert had the party-planning committee working hard on a party to welcome Nellie into the fold. Problem is, the party-planning committee doesn’t actually like Nellie. Nor does anyone else in the office, for that matter. So Pam comes up with the idea to throw a terrible party for Nellie. The gang strings up black streamers, buys bad food (a carrot cake — it’s like a salad bar, as Kevin indignantly points out), and hires Creed to play “all originals.” And the piece de resistance — they hire a magician, because Nellie hates magicians.

But in the process of helping Nellie move into her new apartment while the party-planning goes on, Jim and Dwight learn that Nellie — prejudice against the Irish and Oscar notwithstanding — isn’t all bad. In fact, much of her abrasive attitude is rooted in having to start her life over in a new country after getting her heart broken by “a bloody stage magician.”

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