Not All Monsters Are Bad

May 16, 2008 - by: Troy Foster 4 COMMENTS

Litigation Value:  $300,000 per claim (until respected HR manager is in place).

Though there is so much to write about — office romance, sexual harassment, what Kevin might be regarded as, pranks involving animals, and fraud — tonight, in honor of Toby’s departure, I want to focus on monsters.  It is no secret that Michael thinks Toby is one of the worst out there.  Not known for his subtlety, Michael referred to Toby as “His Horribleness,” called him an “idiot” several times, and compared him to Satan — all in between beeps on his watch alarm.  Over the last 12 years, Michael has mocked (and blocked) Toby’s HR efforts every step of the way.  The “Suck This” rock best sums up Michael’s feelings toward Toby.

Unfortunately, we sometimes see that companies in the real world have similar (though rarely as impassioned) views of HR.  Some on the business side see HR as an obstacle rather than a tool — and want us “Tobys” to all go off to South America.  Now, we know that this mindset is very dangerous and can create significant liability.  When employees see that management doesn’t take HR seriously, they don’t either.  This causes even more violations of policy — usually left unreported (because why bother).  And it really opens the company up to more claims and being blind-sided because HR can’t possibly have a pulse on an organization in this type of environment.

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The Convention

September 28, 2006 - by: Julie Elgar 0 COMMENTS

LITIGATION VALUE: Nominal (but only because Michael’s party was a flop)

Unfortunately for employers, what happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas. As a result, employers are increasingly faced with liability for their employees’ “booze-fueled sex romps,” as Michael so elegantly put it. Maybe it’s the exotic locale, or maybe it’s the free liquor, but one thing is certain: Conventions can be fertile grounds for employment-based lawsuits. Sometimes, between their second and third martinis, employees seem to forget that they are representing their employer and that their company’s policies, especially the sexual harassment policy, remain in effect. Too often you hear tales of the intoxicated supervisor who invites his (or her) young associate to visit his (or her) hotel room. Not generally the type of evidence that you want to be faced with. Lucky for the company, Jim was the only person who actually went to Michael’s party.

As for Toby, I’m just glad that his conscience kicked in at the last minute. Either that or he lost his courage. Either way, it was probably a good thing that the director of human resources did not proposition the receptionist.

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