Manager Allows Colleague To Berate His Female Employees & They Blame Him For Not Defending Them — ‘I Messed Up & I Don’t Know How To Fix It’

She knows she should have and could have done more.

manager talking to employee Iammotos / Shutterstock

As a manager leading a team of employees, you must stand up for them, recognize their contributions, and help them to learn and grow. But one manager made an epic mistake that led to a total sense of distrust by the members of his team, and she is unsure exactly how to reverse the damage she has done.

The woman took to the r/Career subreddit to share the circumstances that landed her in hot water.

The worker explained that her manager berated other employees, and now her coworkers blame her.

She started by providing some context where she explained, “I currently work as a manager and oversee the administrative staff at a law firm. I have a lead that I work closely with and have a great relationship with the ladies I supervise.”


She admits that one of the managing partners at the firm is not a good person and that he only interacts with him when he has to for work-related matters.

woman says her manager berated her coworkers and now they blame herPhoto: Reddit

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Things took a turn for the worse during a monthly staff appreciation lunch. During the lunch event, the managing partner walked over to the manager and his staff and casually asked them how their day was going, seemingly making small talk.

Everything seemed like a normal conversation until lunch was over and the employees began to clean up. The partner approached the woman and told him, “I appreciate you, a lot. Thanks for your help!” But the problem started when he turned to the administrative staff and said, “And as for the rest of you... meh.”

The incident prompted the employees to go to Human Resources and report the managing partner. Their manager was called in and advised that her staff was upset about the incident, so she decided to do a “check-in” with them and apologize for the way the managing partner had addressed them.

To his surprise, her team told her, “Great, but it [was] also your reaction and not speaking up to defend it so it made it seem like what he did was okay.”


Now, she feels “awful” and can feel a shift in the energy between herself and her team. They made it clear that they no longer wanted to discuss the matter and she had no choice but to honor their wishes. The managing partner ended up apologizing, but whether or not it was genuine is still questionable. And the manager is unsure how to rebuild the connection between herself and her staff.

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People were surprisingly supportive of the manager.

The first person that commented said, “You were in a difficult position. A partner is an owner and could have fired you. You should have talked to the staff immediately afterwards but it's also a good idea they complained to HR, who made him apologize.”

Others agreed that the manager was placed in a tough spot when her superior talked to her team inappropriately. They understood how awkward the situation must have been for her and were empathetic.


But still, most people did tell her that she could have addressed her team right away instead of waiting until after they had reported the inappropriate comments to Human Resources.

In a case like this, the damage has already been done and she can’t reverse what has taken place. The best course of action is to apologize authentically to the team and build trust over time by showing them that they can count on her, no matter who the abuser is.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer and author from Seattle, Washington. She covers issues navigating the workplace using the experience garnered over two decades of working in Human Resources and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.