Many of us have been in situations at work where we felt the need to report something we saw or experienced, but some of us never found the strength to report it.
But when something particularly unsavory happens, it gives us little room to ignore what happened.
One woman found herself in this situation, as she explained in the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, after her supervisor used the “n-word” during a company Zoom call.
And though Redditor notalotasleep knew she had done the right thing in reporting her supervisor, she still wondered if she was wrong for how she’d gone about it.
The Original Poster (OP) asked the sub:
“AITA? [I reported my] supervisor to HR for comment during Zoom meeting (which I recorded).”
During the pandemic, the OP’s involvement in company meetings has shifted.
“Earlier this week I had a zoom meeting with the senior management team.”
“Boring as ever, I’m working from home because ‘plague’ and I’ve found that I’m super easily distracted and not able to concentrate on anything whilst my kids and husband are skulking around the house (work area in the living room – total mistake and idiot move).”
Because of this, the OP has been recording the meetings.
“As a result I have blanket approval from my company to record my calls and do my work as and when I can. It’s been super useful to be able to reference from the recordings and I can upload them to the share point once I’ve used them which has negated the need for minutes etc.”
“The calls are usually pretty informal and the language at times becomes colorful. We don’t care about the occasional ‘f**k, s**t or b**tard’ slipping out.”
But the latest meeting included more than some colorful language.
“On the most recent call one manager had already made a slightly disparaging comment about a junior colleague who is from a different country. This particular colleague is one of my grad team.”
“I challenged his statement which was then framed as a joke.”
“I’m a manager but in this meeting, I was the most junior grade, so for the sake of getting through the meeting, I accepted the excuse and moved on but was kind of alert to him and was actually listening rather than zoning out as I usually do.”
“During a talk about a large opportunity it got heated and he used the phrase ‘n****r in the woodpile’.”
“The call kind of went silent and he just kept talking, nobody pulled him up or seemed offended, it was more awkward like an unfunny joke.”
The OP decided she couldn’t stay silent about the comment.
“After the call, I was brooding on the language and the dismissive attitude and I couldn’t not say something but I was too scared to do it face to face so I reported it to HR and attached the recording.”
“Anonymously via the whistleblowers route. The people on the call are on multiple calls together usually and nothing pointed to the call I was on (to the rest of the team and wider depts – the ones involved definitely know who reported them).”
Because the OP was on a junior management level, she was the only one to not be suspended.
“The fallout is that everyone on the call except me has been suspended pending some further training.”
“Guy who said it is in serious bother but has promptly gone off sick so they’ll have to wait for his return.”
“My colleagues are speculating on how HR found out and that it was a s**tty trick reporting them when they are completely oblivious rather than discussing face to face and keeping things unofficial and undocumented.”
Now the OP wonders if she should have handled things differently.
“Should I have done it in person even though they were all several grades above and dismissive during the call? AITA for reporting via whistleblower route?”
“I was 100% right to report it. I have no doubt about that. Was how I did it a sly and sneaky b***hy trick; as my colleagues seem to think?”
The OP also came back to further clarify the suspension situation.
“Edit: People are asking why I wasn’t suspended alongside the rest of the people in the call, given that WB is anonymous.”
“I’ve had a look on our intranet today as I was also confused and worried about it being obvious it was me complaining.”
“The ones suspended are upper management and it’s corporate policy that any serious complaints about management above a certain grade are instant suspension (don’t know if with or without pay) of everyone involved while an investigation is done.”
“Everyone in my unit got an email scheduling virtual refresher training on discrimination and sensitivity.”
Fellow Redditors commented anonymously, rating the OP’s report on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some confirmed the OP had done nothing wrong and placed the blame on the supervisor and her quiet coworkers.