That's What She Said

Meet the New Boss

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.

Sabre’s policies and procedures touch on a hot topic — social media in the workplace. While Gabe was meeting with the branch employees, new “IT guy” Nick was blocking Internet access to sites like Twitter and YouTube. While this no-access approach is perfectly lawful, the emerging trend is to adopt an “acceptable use” approach that balances the need for productivity and discipline with employee morale and the potential economic benefits of integrating social media into the business. So far, there are very few court decisions involving social media in the workplace. Expect that to change in the next year or two.

Finally, Sabre’s safety officer needs to stop in to talk with Erin and Michael about throwing scissors at each other. There’s a proper way to grip those things….

That’s what she said.