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Why It Was A Mistake For Michael To Fire Tony On The Office

When it comes to management styles, Michael Scott's is one no one should emulate. The regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton made endless uninformed comments regarding gender and race that risked lawsuits — in fact, his insensitive handling of Oscar's sexuality actually did result in a settlement. Michael's work ethic (or rather, his avoidance of work ethic) certainly made for comedic situations, but would have likely resulted in disciplinary action from any real corporate office. And when it came to the hiring and firing of employees, Michael was woefully inept, as evidenced in Season 2, when he fired and rehired Creed, and later reinforced in Season 3, when he fired the already-resigned Tony.

The third season of "The Office" introduced the Stamford branch, which Jim had transferred to after Pam's rejection. In an effort to downsize, the corporate office made the decision to shutter the Stamford branch, leading to the integration of the Stamford and Scranton teams in the episode "The Merger." The episode focuses on Michael's attempt to welcome Jim and a handful of Stamford employees to Scranton. As with all things Michael Scott, the day does not go quite according to plan — and from the company's perspective, firing Tony is the biggest mistake of all. Here's why.

Michael Scott cost Dunder Mifflin money

One of the transferees, Tony Gardner, was already reluctant to make the move to Scranton. But when Michael, with the help of Assistant (to the) Regional Manager Dwight Schrute, attempts to physically lift the heavy-set employee onto a table, Tony balks over his mistreatment and quits the company. Michael's response? He refuses to acknowledge Tony's resignation and instead fires him.

Michael's righteousness — as well as Dwight's elation over Michael unintentionally following his earlier advice to fire one of the transferees in a show of power — is rather short lived. Jan, the VP of regional sales and Michael's immediate superior, calls Michael to inform him that his impulsiveness has cost the company a significant amount of money. If he had accepted Tony's resignation, the company would only be down one employee. But, by disregarding the resignation and instead firing Tony, the company is now on the hook to pay out a substantial severance package. 

For a company already struggling to hit its bottom line, incurring the unexpected and unnecessary expense of a severance package due entirely to Michael's management style surely would have resulted in disciplinary action. But, as always, Michael continued on at Dunder Mifflin. The same, however, cannot be said of Tony's Stamford compatriots. Of the six transferees, only Jim and Andy remained at Scranton until the series' end.