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Because You Love "the Office"...and its Legal Liabilities

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By Neetal Parekh on March 18, 2010 12:05 PM

It's Thursday. And if you're one of millions of Thursday night tv-viewers you know that it means another episode of "The Office". If you've been an avid--or even occasional--fan of this mockumentary-style show, you might have caught yourself asking "is that even legal?"  to Michael Scott's blissful oblivion to employment law, HR considerations, and other workplace norms.

Well, you're not alone.

The blog, "That's What She Said" offers a weekly legal look into legalities of "the Office" as issue-spotted by attorneys from Ford & Harrison.  

So check out their website to revisit your favorite episodes, with your legal lenses on. And for you law students, consider it an exercise in issue-spotting. You can even IRAC potential liabilities and check them against the website in case your current course load leaves you wanting more.

Here are a few of their interesting findings:

Episode: "St. Patrick's Day"

Litigation Value: "Probably neglible, seeing as no one seemed to be offended by Michael's Irish jokes, and Michael himself looked slightly flattered by the long hug with Todd "PacMan" Packer and Meredith."

Episode: "Koi Pond"

Litigation Value: "As to Dunder Mifflin, $500,000 (for potential hostile work environment, race discrimination/harassment, and/or intentional/negligent infliction of emotional distress damages); as to Andy, $25,000 (for potential assault, battery, humiliation, and emotional distress damages); as to Michael, $300 (value of decapitated koi)."

Episode: "Mafia"

Litigation Value: " Oscar's damages-climbing; diversity and harassment training from a trained professional-$2,000; backing off the mafia-priceless."


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