This week’s episode — “The Promotion” — had nothing to do with advancement in the workplace. In fact, the only thing it promoted was how to get fired. When the episode ended, I identified five Scranton employees whom David Wallace should discharge if he wants to minimize potential liability:
Dwight. He opened the episode fantasizing about placing Jim in a “triangle choke hold.” Later on he disrupted the workplace with an impassioned attempt to enlist his coworkers to “drag [Jim] out of his office.” The Office is funny, but workplace violence … not so much. Dwight’s threats were even more egregious because they were unprovoked, and Dwight repeatedly targeted a single employee. Prudent employers take a zero-tolerance approach to workplace violence. An employer that retains an employee it knows has threatened coworkers is begging for costly litigation and bad press. Just about every company not named Dunder Mifflin would have let Dwight go that day.
Michael and Jim. Two employees consumed alcohol in the workplace. Not smart. The two employees are the branch co-managers. Idiotic. The two employees are the branch co-managers in the midst of making important compensation decisions. Only on The Office. Michael and Jim at least had the sense to close the office door. One phone call to David Wallace by a Scranton employee, and they’re out, no questions asked. Bonus termination points to Jim for not recusing himself from the decision whether to give his pregnant fiancee a raise. C’mon, Jim. You’re management now. Act the part.
Ryan and Pam. Loyal viewers should hardly be surprised to see Ryan on this list. Embezzlement and some questionable nightlife habits earlier doomed his Dunder Mifflin executive career. Now it appears he is running a sports book out of the Scranton branch. One suspects this will not end well for him. As for Pam, some shockingly bad judgment. March Madness pools aside, gambling in the workplace cannot be tolerated. It potentially compromises employee loyalty, increasing the risk of embezzlement and workplace theft. Pam, you’re sweet, but you’re fired.
But enough with the buzzkill lawyer stuff. Legal considerations rarely if ever hold back the characters at Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch. Good thing, too. I shudder to think what would become of The Office and the bobblehead industry if Dwight Schrute was written out of the show. We want this thing to keep going as long as possible ….
That’s what she said.
UPDATED: A regular feature of this blog is our estimated litigation value. Dwight’s conduct is the most likely to create direct liability for Dunder Mifflin. Assuming Dwight assaults Jim in the office (I give it 3 more episodes), Jim has a pretty air-tight negligent retention action against the company on top of his civil battery action against Dwight. Litigation value: $200,000.