That's What She Said

The Deposition: Michael’s Secrets Revealed!

In “The Deposition” episode of “The Office,” Michael Scott tries to testify against his employer, Dundler Mifflin, after his girlfriend Jan Levinson sues the company for wrongful termination.  While Michael is being deposed, his e-mail, personal diary, and performance reviews are  used. Employment law attorney Troy Foster reminds us that “that nothing at work should ever be considered completely private.”

I could write about Michael’s deposition all year long.  But for this post, I’ll focus on Michael’s rights.  Yes, I said Michael’s rights to privacy.  Not only did some e-mail get used in the deposition but also his performance review and even his diary were used.

Granted, having one’s diary read out loud at a deposition in a wrongful termination case is probably quite rare — you can’t blame Michael for “throwing himself at the mercy of the deposition” — but this should remind us all (and most importantly your managers and front-line supervisors) that nothing at work should ever be considered completely private.  E-mails, performance reviews, and every other comment that employees make at the office might rear their ugly heads some day, maybe in a deposition.

Hopefully, that is the extent of the disclosure, and they don’t end up having their most private personal thoughts from home disclosed to their bosses — or the outside world.  Like Michael said, “You expect to get screwed by your company.  But you never expect to get screwed by your girlfriend.”  That’s what she said!

1 thought on “The Deposition: Michael’s Secrets Revealed!”

  1. Just wanted to drop a line to say I love your HR Hero blogs! I learn while I’m laughing my head off. This was an especially good one, and timely. Thanks.

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