Virtual meltdown | Manager in underwear caught in angry outburst after failing to mute Teams call

Manager in underwear caught in angry outburst after failing to mute Teams call

A regional manager was caught calling colleagues “idiots” who asked “stupid questions” in a furious outburst when he accidentally left his microphone and camera turned on during a department-wide town hall with 200 people.

Edward Fuenmayor, a service center manager at the Department of Veterans Affairs, was reassigned after an angry outburst, where he angrily lashed out over questions he was asked at the end of an hour-long Teams call, was mistakenly heard by more than 200 colleagues.

The call participants also caught a glimpse of Fuenmayor in his underwear, as he was unaware that his camera was also turned on during the meeting.

After an employee asked him questions at the end of the town hall meeting, Fuenmayor reportedly slammed something in frustration and went on to call colleagues in the call “idiots” with “stupid questions”.

Following the outburst, which had been recorded, six employees expressed offense to the comments and a further five acknowledged they had heard the angry eruption.

“He was, like, furious. That guy was cussing up a storm, and he had his drawers on,” one of the employees said. “He didn’t know he was on the hot mic,” an employee on the call told NBC News.

Another colleague on the call described the outburst as “unprofessional and uncalled for” while another person on the call made Fuenmayor aware he wasn’t on mute and that he “gave a peep show on top of it”.

The following day, he wrote a 200 word letter to all employees apologising for his actions, which he said “did not represent a welcome environment.”

He outlined that town hall meetings are an “opportunity for employees to have an open discussion and to ask questions” and so employees “should feel free and welcomed to inquire upon any topic.”

“I understand that my actions were hurtful, and I want to assure you that this behavior is not a reflection of my true character. I am committed to making the office a protected space for open thought and dialogue,” the apology said.

Psychological safety at work

Cultivating an environment in the workplace where employees feel comfortable to voice their concerns and ask questions is a crucial element to a thriving company culture.

“Nurturing psychological safety amongst employees is crucial for the bottom line,” says Dr Alexandra Dobra-Kiel, Innovation & Strategy Director at Behave. “It’s all the more crucial in a rapidly changing and unpredictable world, as companies need employees who learn and grow, make a difference, and make things better - psychological safety is the bedrock for unlocking these.”

Psychological safety is the concept of a workplace environment where everyone feels safe, meaning they feel safe to share ideas, safe to ask questions, and feel safe to fail without judgement. Cultivating this type of space can help employees have frank, open and productive conversations, leading to stronger firms and high performance.

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