Three Dwight Circus


Kristin Starnes Gray

Litigation Value: Andy’s vocal hatred for Nelly = fodder for her brewing constructive discharge and breach of contract case; New versus Old Dwight dynamic = possible future age discrimination issues; watching Old Dwight’s jealous alter ego attempt a terrifying stunt in the parking lot to put New Dwight in his place = priceless.

The Office kicked off its final season with quite a bang. With a New Dwight (“Dwight Jr.”) and a New Jim (“Plop”), Oscar’s secret affair with The Senator, growing tensions between Jim and Pam over career issues, and the big reveal about the paternity of Angela’s baby, this season should be an interesting one. Andy is back and relishing his role as Regional Manager except for one small problem–Nellie is still lurking around. Hopefully Outward Bound has not resurrected angry wall-punching Andy.   

Andy demands that Toby explain why Nellie is still working in Scranton. According to Toby, she can only be fired for cause. Savvy human resources professionals in at-will states like South Carolina are probably wondering if Nelly has some sort of employment contract altering her status as an at-will employee–i.e. inhibiting the Company’s right to terminate her for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all (so long as it is not an unlawful reason). For the purposes of this blog entry, we will assume that she does in fact have such an employment contract. In his desperation to get rid of Nellie, Andy tells Toby that he is going to make up a reason to terminate her employment. This is a big mistake given that Toby would likely be Nellie’s main witness at trial. We all know how much Toby enjoyed being a juror on the Scranton Strangler case. I can only imagine how much he would love being a star witness.    

Andy’s alternative plan is to make Nellie’s work life so difficult that she will want to resign, and he makes no attempt to hide this misguided plan from Nellie. Constructive discharge anyone? Something tells me that things are about to get ugly in Scranton. It looks like Creed will get to enjoy many more days at the workplace circus that is Dunder Mifflin. Tell us your thoughts on the final season opener and how you think this Andy versus Nellie battle is going to end.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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