Nasir and Matt celebrate America's birthday by discussing the newest decision in the hotdog in the eye at a baseball game case and the legal side of the 4th of July. They then answer, "I gave my employees the option to take the 4th of July off. Everyone except one employee decided to take the day off. I was planning on not going to the office but now do I have to show up for this one person? All my employees are hourly."
Full Podcast Transcript
NASIR: Welcome to Legally Sound Smart Business!
This is Nasir Pasha.
MATT: And this is a very patriotic Matt Staub.
NASIR: Oh, nice. Our patriotic episode of our business legal podcast where we cover business news and answer some of your business legal questions that you, the listener, can send in to firstname.lastname@example.org and dot-USA, but not really. Don’t send it there.
MATT: Dot-USA? That’s…
NASIR: No, it’s dot-US.
MATT: Oh, dot-US, okay.
NASIR: I don’t think they have a dot-US.
MATT: Yeah, which you actually will see. I’ve actually seen those. Those exist already.
NASIR: Yeah, I don’t know if dot-USA exists though. Will it exist? Someday.
MATT: It will after this episode, that’s for sure.
MATT: It’s all going to be American themes. Sorry to our international listeners.
NASIR: We apologize, Nigeria!
MATT: What’s more American than hotdogs and baseball?
This is a story we talked about. It’s been a while ago now.
NASIR: Episode 1.
MATT: I don’t know if it was Episode 1.
NASIR: Oh, Episode 2.
MATT: You’ll get it right eventually. I mean, I don’t remember which one it was but it was about the fan who was at a baseball game. I think it was a Royals game and he got hit in the eye with a hotdog by Slugger, their mascot, and a Missouri Supreme Court has just ruled – just now, I’m getting a live feed – that it is not an inherent risk of watching baseball – a flying hotdog flying towards you is not an inherent risk – which I think, in my opinion, you know, I’ve been to a lot of baseball games, I don’t know if I agree with this just because, when you go to a baseball game, you know that there is the risk. A ball could be flying at you, depending on where you’re sitting, it could be flying very fast at you and depending on where you’re sitting too, a bat could come into the stands. Hotdogs – I could knock a hotdog down if it’s flying towards me. If a baseball is flying at me as fast as it is off a bat, I can’t knock that down.
NASIR: But what if he was sitting at a place where sometimes, you know, it depends where you’re sitting as far as the amount of risk. And then, also, if you’re watching the game and paying attention, then you also have lesser risk because then you can possibly see a ball or a bat coming.
NASIR: But a hotdog? This guy was damaged pretty bad. Like, his retina was detached or something like that. Had to get a new eyeball.
MATT: I agree. Obviously, there’s a lot of breaks in baseball between innings and between the top and the bottom of the individual inning. So, if baseball is not going on, that’s I’m assuming the time they’re throwing the hotdogs out so you’re not expecting anything to be happening at that time. I guess he does have an argument in that sense. Obviously, he has that argument because he ended up winning but…
NASIR: At the same time, why doesn’t Kansas City just pay for this? I mean, this guy got hit by a hotdog and his retina was detached. It’s like, just pay it. I mean, you have insurance to at least cover some of it.
MATT: This is why I’m here – because you don’t follow baseball. If you did, you would know the Royals have had a long period of bad… I think it’s been 25 years since they’ve been in the playoffs. It’s been a long time. So, I just think it’s one bad thing after the other. That’s probably the reason they didn’t do it. This is something they should have just taken care of.
NASIR: It’s probably the insurance companies that are fighting the claim anyway so it may not even be in their hands.
MATT: That’s true.
MATT: That is true.
NASIR: But 4th of July is today.
NASIR: And lawyers love 4th of July. Do you know why?
MATT: Uh, lawsuits.
NASIR: Yeah! It is a time people get injured all the time so these PI attorneys, you know, back in my hometown of Vandalia, Ohio – where I grew up, look it up, it’s actually a city in Ohio – my dad had an office in the main street there. They’d have a 4th of July parade and so forth. We’d go out on the porch. There was kind of porch setting to the office building and there would be people there. I was always concerned, as a kid, knowing that I would be a lawyer, what if someone got injured on the property? That’d be a premises liability and it was very risky – all because of 4th of July.
MATT: There’s obviously tons of firework injuries every 4th of July. One of my favorite things is the local news used to do this thing with fireworks safety and they would just have a bunch of mannequins and they would duct tape fireworks into their hands and it would just be nonstop clips of exploding fireworks and people’s hands would be blown off.
NASIR: Yeah, it sounds like those mannequins are something that I would do as a kid just for fun and then get in trouble with.
MATT: Yeah, I can’t say that I always made the best decisions with fireworks. Sorry, mom – who I know listens to this podcast.
NASIR: Yeah, I know, I played with fire, too. I always used to get in trouble for that as well.
MATT: I guess there’s also issues from a legal standpoint of a lot of fireworks aren’t even legal.
NASIR: You’re right. In Ohio, you can’t have any fireworks. Well, I think it might be by county. I can’t remember but nothing that launches in the air. Of course, Southern California, because of fire hazard.
MATT: Yeah, the only things you can have are sparklers and those popper things.
NASIR: Which are worthless.
MATT: Anything worthwhile fireworks-wise is usually illegal. I was actually out of the country a couple of years ago in San Diego when they had the fireworks malfunction. I don’t know if you were watching that.
NASIR: Oh, was that when it all went at once or something within 30 seconds?
MATT: Yeah, I was actually in Europe.
NASIR: That’s patriotic!
MATT: That was, yeah, I know. It was on the news in Europe. That’s how big of a story it was. All of the fireworks went off at once and it was before the time it was supposed to start so no one was expecting it and that was the whole show.
NASIR: That’s funny.
NASIR: All right. Well, let’s get to our 4th of July question of the day or July 4th question.
MATT: All right.
“Can I light fireworks in the office?”
No, that’s not the question.
NASIR: That was my question.
MATT: “I gave my employees the option to take the 4th of July off. Everyone except one employee decided to take the day off. I was planning on not going to the office but, now, do I have to show up for this one person? All of my employees are hourly.”
Now, this is a tough predicament here.
NASIR: That’s so funny. It’s like this one person is tying him to the office.
First of all, oh, it’s just so funny. There’s a lot of ways I could answer this question. Or I have more questions like, “Who is this person and is he a traitor to the United States?”
MATT: Yeah, it’s on a Friday.
NASIR: Oh, yeah, it is on a Friday! And then, also, second is we’re answering this question and this is July 4th so I hope they listen to it in the morning.
MATT: That is true.
NASIR: We kind of messed up on that one.
MATT: Probably too late at this point.
Well, it’s not July 4th specific. It is something that could happen on other times.
NASIR: You mean, answering this question will help other people, just not the person that asked it.
MATT: For the next July 4th.
NASIR: He may be talking about next year.
MATT: Yeah, that’s true. Plans a year in advance.
NASIR: In fact, let’s just rephrase the question.
“I gave my employees the option to take off 4th of July 2015.”
First of all, with employees, you can dictate – unless it’s against a policy that you’ve already created – when people work as far as scheduling goes. If you want to close your office on that day, then you can – whether it’s a paid vacation or not, you can also specify that since all your employees are hourly.
As far as whether you have to be there or not, I mean, if that person wants to work, I don’t know what kind of business it is. If it’s an office job, it seems like that person should be able to work alone without you there.
MATT: You’re exactly right. I’m trying to think the other side. If there’s a situation where they have to meet a certain quota, maybe it’s a salesperson, they have a certain quota and this is preventing them from hitting that, then you might have to let them. I guess you don’t have to let them do anything but you might be more inclined to just let them show up and do it. But you don’t want them to show up and then light fireworks in the office by themselves because they’re not supervised.
NASIR: I think your first problem is, if you’re going to give the option to take it off then you also have to give them the option to not take it off and you have to be prepared for those consequences. If someone decides to work that day because they’re a traitor and they hate America, then you have to let them do that.
MATT: True. Nothing’s even open – well, restaurants and gas stations are the only thing open on the 4th of July.
NASIR: Yeah, and this guy’s office, of course.
MATT: Oh, that’s what it is, he sells fireworks. Must be!
NASIR: Yeah, it’s based on sales, too. Commissions – he wants to make some money. He’ll make a killing.
MATT: Last-minute purchases, same-day delivery, apparently.
After the 4th of July is the best time to buy fireworks because they’re on sale, but the only thing is you have to store them for a year.
NASIR: And they may explode randomly.
NASIR: Just be careful about that.
MATT: Not safe at all but that’s all right. That’s why we have attorneys here.
NASIR: All right. Well, thank you for joining us for our July 4th of 4th of July episode.
That just reminds me of a Facebook message on Reddit that I read that someone was asking. “Is July 4th on the 27th or 28th this year?”
MATT: Someone asked that?
NASIR: I don’t know if it was real but it looked like it was a screenshot of a Facebook post or whatever. Anyway…
MATT: It probably was real. People don’t necessarily think about that all the time.
NASIR: It is July 4th this year though, right?
MATT: Yeah, it is.
NASIR: All right, thanks for joining us!
MATT: Yeah, keep it sound, keep it smart, and keep it American for today.