Superstore: America Ferrera Tackles Big-Box Retail

In Superstore, NBC has gifted us The Office-caliber employment law issues in a big-box retail setting.  The show focuses on the fictional Cloud 9 Superstore in Missouri and its delightful staff of misfits, led by America Ferrera.

Source: kondor83 / iStock / Getty

I am a bit late to this humorous party, but in just a couple of episodes I have noted:

  • A female assistant store manager interrogating a new male employee about his sexual orientation and dating status during the onboarding process, because she has a romantic interest in him;
  • An employee’s boyfriend faking an armed robbery in a misguided marriage proposal;
  • A store manager and employees using shopping carts as race cars in the parking lot;
  • A floor supervisor publicly telling the store manager that a reporter only liked another employee’s ideas because the reporter was sexually attracted to the employee;
  • An assistant store manager demanding during a group meeting public confessions of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace;
  • An employee confessing to having sex in a dressing room with another employee—a confession which was largely ignored;
  • An assistant store manager playing a video for all assembled employees of an employee canoodling in the store with a reporter;
  • An assistant store manager publicly announcing her (incorrect) belief that the reporter had sexually assaulted the employee; and
  • The same assistant store manager publicly attempting to force the employee to agree that he had been sexually assaulted.

With such a wealth of employment issues in just two episodes, this show promises to be an excellent reminder of what not to do in a professional setting.  Thus far, it seems Cloud 9 could use the following employer tips:

  • Never ever address private personnel matters, such as disciplinary or potential sexual harassment issues, in a store-wide meeting or other public setting;
  • Implement strong policies addressing workplace safety, disciplinary actions, anti-discrimination, and anti-harassment;
  • Train and re-train employees on those policies;
  • Implement procedures for reporting, investigating, and addressing potential discrimination or harassment issues;
  • Train and re-train managers on these procedures;  and
  • Implement prompt remedial measures, such as disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination, where appropriate.

While Cloud 9 will surely continue to ignore even the most basic employer guidelines, let us know your favorite Superstore moments.

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