Clever Blog about "The Office" Spotlights Real Client Liabilities

Julie_elgarYou've got to check out the blog "That's What She Said," which analyzes antics on the TV show "The Office" and assesses what they would cost a real live employer in workplace lawsuits.

Talk about a great marketing technique!

The author is Julie Elgar, a labor and employment attorney at law firm of Ford & Harrison in Atlanta, Georgia.  She  represents management in companies that have been sued by their employees and former employees.

"When I'm home, I like to relax in front of the TV. NBC's hit show, "The Office" with Steve Carrell is a draw -- not just because it's so funny -- but also because it is fascinating to consider how many zeros a company would have to add to the settlement check if the antics of the folks at Dunder Mifflin appeared in a real lawsuit," she says.

For example:

  • Announcing "we're screwed" is not the best way to tell employees that the company is closing down its branch. LITIGATION VALUE: $150,000 in defense costs -- unless the WARN Act applies.
  • Nothing says "I love you" quite like a legal contract acknowledging that you weren't coerced or enticed into having into a relationship with your boss, and that if it doesn't work out, you won't sue your employer. Courts generally don't take much stock in agreements that waive your right to sue for wrongs that haven't even happened yet.  LITIGATION VALUE: $75,000.
  • If an executive learns that a regional manager has sponsored a bachelor party in the warehouse, hired a stripper, offered to "deflower" the bride, taken an employee to a sex store, received a lap dance, and allowed a pervert dressed up like Benjamin Franklin to make a lewd statement to the receptionist, she should fire him. As this episode colorfully illustrates, it is not enough to have an anti-harassment policy. LITIGATION VALUE: $800,000+

Dang. Where was Julie Elgar when we needed her at the office holiday party.

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