LITIGATION VALUE: $45,000
Creed’s actions in setting up Debbie Brown to be fired for his mistake were not, in and of themselves, illegal. And, if Dunder Mifflin acted in good faith when it fired Debbie, then it probably didn’t do anything illegal either. At least not on the facts in this episode.
Employees can be fired for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. Employers can even be mistaken about the facts that led them to fire someone, so long as they believed them to be true at the time. The reason for firing someone just can’t be an illegal (i.e., discriminatory) reason. While that is the legal rule, I wouldn’t recommend that managers go around firing people without a good reason. In today’s litigious climate, sometimes perfectly legal (albeit unfair) actions can, and often do, cost a whole bunch of money. After all, companies don’t sit on juries. Employees do. Plus, as we saw, the company could end up with disgruntled employees who leave them with a warehouse full of paper containing obscene watermarks involving cartoon characters engaged in unspeakable acts.
And, just in case you were wondering, calling the company’s best customer a “Biatch” during a press conference and threatening to sabotage the product line if held responsible for mishaps occurring under your supervision would be a good reason to terminate a manager. A very good reason.