Cheap Labor

December 31, 2010 - by: Joshua Drexler 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Class action by day-laborers hired by Dwight = $500,000; penalties for violations of the Immigration Reform and Control Act = $50,000.

[Tonight's entry was authored by Josh Drexler, whom you'll be hearing more from in the coming year.]

While watching last night’s two repeat episodes, I noticed that Dwight Schrute potentially exposed Sabre/Dunder Mifflin to significant liability in the opening scene of “Sex-Ed” (originally aired on October 14, 2010).  Viewing the episode from a different angle, I note that Dwight revealed that he regularly hires day-laborers in the morning, promises to pay them at 6:00 p.m., and then cheats them out of their wages by abandoning them in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at 5:45 p.m. under the pretext that they are in Canada.  Moreover, Dwight apparently uses the day-laborers for work at the Scranton branch. What Dwight revealed in this two-minute segue should send chills down any employer’s back.

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A Tale of Two Repeats

April 02, 2010 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 2 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Very Little.  Destination Wedding = $25,000; Niagara Falls Ceremony after Escaping Wedding = $100; Diapering Angela’s Cat = Priceless.

Given that last night consisted of two repeats, two of my colleagues have already done a wonderful job of covering issues raised by the Dunder Mifflin gang’s antics last night. Although last night’s episodes did not give rise to much in the way of litigation value, here’s a rundown of my top 10 things not to do at the office (or anywhere else, for that matter).

  1. Offer to stick spicy food (or anything else) into a coworker’s rectum.
  2. Discuss a coworker’s nipples. On the other hand, I definitely agree with Michael that no coworkers should be stimulating Pam’s nipples at Dunder Mifflin.
  3. Offer to bring a nippleless shirt to the office. Why Meredith has a nippleless anything in the car is a mystery to me. Of course, it may be the newest craze from the JWow collection.
  4. Pretend to shoot coworkers, even with your finger. This is particularly true if you intend to simulate gruesome brain splatter.
  5. Openly discuss the fact that Stanley has two lovers and you don’t have any.
  6. Decide to sleep nude in two coworkers’ bed, even if you are secretly eradicating mold and remodeling their kitchen for free.
  7. Announce that a coworker must have needed an “afternoon delight” with his wife.
  8. Discuss the relative hotness of a coworker as she stands uncomfortably next to you.
  9. Spread a rumor that a coworker has an elephant heart.
  10. Negotiate a parenting contract with a former office flame, even if your biological clock is ticking so loudly you awaken to find yourself cradling a gourd on your beet farm.

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Meet the New Boss

February 04, 2010 - by: Brian Kurtz 3 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Approximately $5,000 – 10,000; Oscar’s Dunder Mifflin vacation time … and the replacement cost of Stanley’s busted windshield.

Employment law issues often get overlooked in a merger while the parties focus on stock price, transition planning, public relations, and other big-ticket concerns. When Gabe announced to the Scranton employees that Sabre offered two weeks of vacation, Oscar complained that he had six weeks banked from Dunder Mifflin. Is he entitled to either cash it out or carry it over to his Sabre employment? Probably.

While not entirely clear, it appears that Sabre purchased a controlling stake in Dunder Mifflin. In this type of stock purchase, the buyer “steps into the shoes” of the company being acquired. Of course, a new employer can make its own policy, but subject to state wage-hour laws. Most state laws prohibit an employer from taking away an employee’s earned or accrued vacation. Oscar’s complaint suggests that Dunder Mifflin permitted employees to carry over earned, unused vacation. So when Sabre stepped into Dunder Mifflin’s shoes, Oscar’s vacation bank should have carried over. Hey, Gabe. Let’s talk about a use-it-or-lose-it vacation policy.

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Mose Gets A Raise!

July 24, 2008 - by: Troy Foster 5 COMMENTS

Hopefully, the folks at Dunder Mifflin took note of today’s mandated minimum wage increase required under the Fair Minimum Wage Act passed in 2007. As of today, the minimum wage is $6.55; next year, the official federal minimum wage will be increased to $7.25 per hour.

While it’s unlikely that this will affect the wages of any of the Scranton branch employees, this new increase could take a serious toll on the profitability of Dwight’s beet farm operations. If his cousin Mose hears about the increase, Dwight is going to have to find a way to come up with the money to pay Mose’s higher wage — that’s assuming, of course, that Dwight pays Mose at all.

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