Phil Connor is the embodiment of all corrupt evil in the industrialized world. He is both the typical and stereotypical boss who uses his power and influence to get what he wants. When Ona refuses to sleep with him of her own free will, he threatens the economic stability of her entire family, so that she has no choice but to give in. Connor's exploitation of Ona serves as a microcosm of how the entire industry works: The bosses exploit the laborers.
After Jurgis justifiably attacks Connor, Connor gets a continuance, subsequently lies in court, and finally blacklists Jurgis. This illustrates the power money has in the judicial system. Not only does Connor perjure himself in court, he is able to supply witnesses; the court sides with Connor before the trial even begins. After Jurgis serves his time, his inability to get a job serves not only as an additional punishment for him, it is a lesson for others who may attempt to strike out against oppression. Ironically, Connor, who is seemingly the reason for Jurgis' downfall, also seemingly serves as his salvation. Without encountering Connor again, the chain of events that leads Jurgis to socialism, would not have occurred.