AIBU to have no sympathy for people who have been victims?

One of my best friends works in a nice restaurant at the front of house, where he manages the waiters, bussers, and basically anyone who has any interaction with the customers.

The kitchen staff are all women who have escaped difficult situations, such as arranged marriages, abusive families, and other horror stories. They all report directly to the owner, who has made headlines as a woman who supports these victims and gives them jobs in her kitchen. She also advertises the restaurant as high-end, and so it comes with a level of expectation with regards to the food and the service.

Every night my friend has one complaint or another that these women are finding ways to provide sub-standard food, and slow or lazy service. He has often tried to tell them (calmly) what the expectations are for a high-end restaurant in a large cosmopolitan city, but whenever he does so they claim that a man telling them what to do is “triggering” and will go straight to the owner to complain. The owner will then come down hard on my friend, claiming he needs to have sympathy for their past trauma.

At first, he was sympathetic but now he’s torn between thinking they shouldn’t be advertising and pricing the restaurant as high-end if the kitchen staff’s past trauma can’t handle the pace, or maybe the women are using their past trauma to get sympathy and excuse their lazy behavior. He honestly doesn’t know what to do, and doesn’t want to be unreasonable, so he’s asked my advice.

So now I am asking you, help me to help him! What do you think he should do?
& AIBU to have no sympathy for people who have been victims?

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um I wouldn’t be his friend anymore. I have past trauma from dealing with bullies. And it still hurts. I think its why its hard for me to trust the other sex a lot. Except my dad and that’s just barley. Try to get him to understand that part of their abuse from their partners/males in their family members (or in-law members) -was ordering them around. Like does he know in some cultures even in western society women are forced by their in-laws at least (whom they sometimes live w/) to abort (can I say that word )-girls when they’re pregnant? We all know of the “wicked stepmother” trope… but there’s the “wicked mother-in-law” trope which is basically identically. Basically its abuse. Also telling him behaviour like his is why these women don’t try to go to the police in the first place because they know they wouldn’t be believe. Or they will even be laughed at.

I have no idea how long you and he has been friends-but try to think of an incident you know might be triggering for him and bring it up to him. And see how he reacts? I know that might be a bad thing. But it could work.

"I feel sorry for your experiences but you’re fired.’

Can’t do the job, GTFO.

Alternatively he should go to the owner and make her deal with it.


I’m torn. I have no trouble believing that some of them do have PTSD from what they’ve been through. However the sad thing is that there’s no way to prove one way or another. It’s like the people who cry sexism or racism because they didn’t get their way. We all know it happens. We’ve seen it on NAR.

The problem is that the ‘cry wolfers’ are the ones who make it harder for those who really are having a hard time to be believed.


I think your friend needs to look for a new job. Regardless of the reason why this behaviour started, it has evolved to a toxic workplace where he has no voice and can’t complain, and it’s unlikely to change because the owner supports this situation. These women may have past trauma, but if they’re using it as an excuse to be lazy, either they’re not ready for the expectations of this work, or they’re trying to pull some kind of “trauma card”.
I don’t think there’s a real lack of sympathy from his part, but his expectations are clearly different than the owner’s for how this work should function, and that leads to growing frustration.


Your friend is being unreasonable. From your post, he doesn’t manage kitchen staff (they have no contact with customers, right?). He’s not the owner. The owner doesn’t see an issue, and has asked him to back off. The only appropriate action would be for your friend to discuss his concerns directly with the owner, and let her deal with it (or not). He has no authority to tell hte kitchen staff how to do their jobs, and he’s been told by the owner that it’s not appropriate for him to interfere here. Tell your friend to keep his eyes on his work and stay out of the kitchen.


I agree with Lola that the friend should get out if at all possible (I know, easier said than done) – while it’s true that he doesn’t manage the kitchen staff, if food is substandard and/or is made very slowly, it is the front of house that will receive the customer complaints, but apparently, there’s nothing either the kitchen staff or Owner are willing to do, so he’s between a rock and a hard place. Also, if a woman was managing the front of the house and telling the kitchen staff what to do, maybe it would not be as triggering?
Anyway, based on the opening post, that owner sounds like she expects the schmucks customers to pay premium price for below-average food out of sympathy, which is not a good expectation. By all means, have a restaurant where all the kitchen staff is made up of victims (a very noble initiative!) and advertise it as such, but do NOT mislead customers about the quality they can expect.