Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Does Your Company Employ A Charlie Sheen?

Does your company employ a Charlie Sheen? A Charlie Sheen employee is one of your company's best rainmakers who generates huge profits along with huge amounts of publicity for your company via traditional means or social media. Some of the media may be positive but other press may be negative.

A Charlie Sheen may be considered a wild card (#winning, #Tigerblood) in that he may act in a manner that nobody may envision. Some of his actions may be self-destructive while others may be just bizarre. However much trouble a Charlie Sheen may cause, he adds huge revenues to your bottom line and creates much needed buzz for your company. Therefore, finding a way to get along with your company's Charlie Sheen to continue the win-win economic relationship may be in the best interests of all parties involved.

The real Charlie Sheen is an American Actor who has been in the public eye for more than 30 years. He is the son of famed actor Martin Sheen and his brother is Emilo Estevez. Some of Charlie Sheen's work includes major roles in the movies Platoon and Wall Street, and in the television sitcom Spin City. However, during his life, Charlie Sheen has had many ups and downs reportedly due to substance abuse. Since 2003, Charlie Sheen has been the main star of CBS' highly rated situation comedy Two and A Half Men. The sitcom has been ranked in the top 20 for each of its 7 seasons and it has been in syndication since 2007. The producer of Two and a Half Men is Chuck Lorre.

In the Social Media Age, differences between employees and their employers can easily go viral. In the Charlie Sheen vs. Chuck Lorre heavyweight fight some Hollywood insiders believe that Lorre exacerbated the situation by stating negative personal opinions about Sheen on vanity cards that are placed at the end of a television episode. In addition to putting his personal opinions on the vanity cards, Lorre also created a website: www.chucklorre.com that contains all of his vanity cards.

Last week, Two and a Half Men was canceled for the rest of this television season allegedly because of Sheen's rants against Lorre and CBS/Warner Bros. Over the past few days, Sheen has stated he may sue CBS/Warner Bros. for hundreds of millions of dollars. Sheen has hired one of Hollywood's top lawyers and appears willing to move forward with legal action. A letter on Radaronline.com may even be the actual correspondence that Sheen's lawyer sent to CBS/Warner Bros.

The bottom line is that employers should not create a hostile work environment for their employees. The generally accepted definition of a hostile work environment may soon include the creation of social media posts that denigrate employees. On March 1, 2011, Sheen created a Twitter account www.twitter.com/charliesheen and within 24 hours attracted more than a million followers. Therefore, regardless of whether you agree with Sheen's behavior, he still commands a huge audience and has great entertainment appeal. In addition, Sheen appears ready, willing, and able to return to work. Unless Sheen's employment contract contains a well-defined morals clause and Sheen has breached it or another contract clause, Sheen may be entitled to the rest of the money owed to him under his contract.

Social Media has changed conventional wisdom in business and law and every company must be aware of the legal issues inherent with social media usage. It is too early to tell if CBS/Warner Bros./Lorre will apologize to Sheen while licking his feet but it would not surprise me if we get at least one more season of Two and A Half Men with Charlie Sheen. As they say, "there's no business like show business."

To learn more about the legal, business, and entertainment ramifications of social media usage you may contact me at www.shearlaw.com.

Copyright 2011 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.