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Yes, it’s possible for managers to be harassed by subordinates

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Discrimination, Sexual Harassment

There’s no question that in most cases, workplace harassment and discrimination involve managers or supervisors victimizing someone who is a subordinate or employees victimizing their co-workers who are more or less on the same level on the organization chart. In some cases, however, managers and supervisors are harassed or otherwise treated inappropriately by those who work for them.

Unless someone owns a business and has the freedom to terminate an employee for such behavior, these managers often aren’t able to do anything to stop the harassment as long as those above them are willing to allow it to continue.

What does this harassment look like?

In some cases of harassment that have made it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), supervisors have reported being harassed by their employees based on gender and/or race. They’ve reported that multiple employees who reported to them undermined their authority and engaged in other behavior that created a hostile work environment for them. 

In these cases, the supervisors’ own managers wouldn’t let them fire these employees and refused to discipline the employees themselves. In at least one case, the supervisor who reported the harassment was the one reassigned to a less convenient shift.

Certainly, employees are more likely to continue their discriminatory and harassing behavior if they know that those in charge won’t do anything and maybe even share their views. They’re also more likely to get away with it if there are multiple employees engaging in this behavior. 

What can a manager do if they’re being harassed by their employees?

It’s critical to know that when any employee at any level reports harassment and/or discrimination, employers have a responsibility to investigate and, if the complaint is accurate, take action to stop it. That action should involve consequences for those engaging in this behavior and not the victim.

If you’ve been the victim of discrimination or harassment and your employer has refused to take appropriate action, it’s important to know what you have rights. With experienced legal guidance, you can more effectively assert those rights.