In the US version of the Office, everyone seems to really really hate Toby. I can understand that he isn't the most interesting person to talk to, but why is everyone so against him? Especially Michael and later on (end of season 9), Dwight.


6 Answers 6


Michael hated Toby because he worked in Human Resources. He's essentially a corporate employee that's permanently based at the Scranton branch. He's definitely not (at least from Michael's point of view) an employee of the Scranton branch, so Michael sort of views him as a combination of invader, traitor and spy.

Toby's role as a HR employee would primarily be protecting Dunder Mifflin from Michael's stupidity. Michael Scott is, by design, an absolute idiot of a character. He's totally incompetent as a manager and also has absolutely no understanding of what is and isn't appropriate for the workplace, especially when occupying a managerial position. Toby would be the one who calls him up on his inappropriate conduct, reports that conduct back to corporate, and who would be responsible for telling Michael "no" before he does things that he shouldn't.

Children will occasionally tell their parents that they hate them (or at least don't love them) when they've been denied something they want or have been told off for doing something they shouldn't. Michael's essentially having a childish - and ongoing - reaction against the authority figure who denies him the things he wants.

The impression I got was that the other employees didn't have any particularly strong feelings about Toby either way. They didn't exactly dislike him but they didn't consider him a friend either.

  • About the other employees: while we initially register Michael as the unprovoked bully in this relationship, Toby himself isn't the best person either. He is severely flawed in some ways; and e.g. openly suggested for Pam and Jim to not officially declare their relationship because Toby had a crush on Pam. Toby can be a nuisance, and although Michael's reaction is overkill, there's likely still a grain of truth in why he started disliking Toby.
    – Flater
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 13:32
  • 2
    See also: HR is Not Your Friend
    – Kyralessa
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 19:26

Michael dislikes Toby, not just because of the fact that he works for corporate and this isn't apart of Michael's work place "family", but also because Toby is the very antithesis of his personality: quiet, mature, typically sticking to the rules, etc.

The episode "Casino Night" has a pretty good quote from Michael himself after Toby points out how inappropriate Boy Scouts being at their casino would be:

Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun and exciting you make it not that way.


There's a common theme with the Toby hate, and I'm quite convinced that it is on purpose. It is almost always Michael who is mad at Toby and the things he does.

There are exceptions to that rule; and those exceptions are consistent.

When Jim becomes a co-manager, we see a few times where he loses his cool and gets mad at Toby, and at one point agrees with Toby being "the worst"; from what I remember. When Dwight becomes manager, he also has problems with Toby. When David Wallace is talking about the corporate office to someone (pretty sure it's Jim), he mentions that everyone is great "except" their HR guy, Kendall.

There is a reoccurring theme in The Office where management and HR do not get along.


I think it's actually quite simple:

  • Michael basically loves all of the staff, and sees himself as a super-great and nice person, so hating Toby for no reason is a strong gag

It may also have to do with

  • Everyone at the branch work for Michael, except Toby, who works for corporate

Thus, Toby is outside of Michael's direct chain-of-command, but is a presence in the office, which functions partly as Michael's personal social club.

  • Michael does not have direct power over Toby

It's obvious from these comments and the show why Michael hates Toby.

If you pay attention to his actions however, you'll find that Toby is actually a horrible, petty person. He's one of those "nice" guys that seems shy but is actually very selfish. He wants to blow off going to his daughter's play to go to Pam's art show. Also when he wins a stuffed animal and wants to give it to Pam, and Pam has to remind him that he has a daughter he could give it to, it becomes clear that he makes selfish choices. When Jim and Pam are together for the first time he is also really rude about it with the memo about PDA at the office and saying they don't have to disclose their relationship because it's not serious enough.

If Toby would be more confident and outgoing, he would be worse than Packer.


What Anthony Grist said plus you have to remember that the 1st decade of the 21st century was the painfully PC Policing of the workplace. And the HR person was the one who always had to make everybody watch the PC videos everytime a non-PC event happened in the workplace. Everyone hated having to watch those stupid, boring videos and blamed the HR rep for making them do it. So at offices everywhere in the early 2000's the HR rep was the office KillJoy and on "The Office" that was Toby.

  • That actually checks out. I did a little googling and there are articles on "why people hate HR". Your answer might work if you could expand it, perhaps site a source that indicates this is what the writers in the office were going for. It never occurred to me, watching the office that it was a commentary on HR in general (Michael liked Holly). Toby was very dry and boring and he never had fun. Everything Michael Scott hates, cause Michael is all about Fun and standing up and leading, (not always leading well). Still, your answer may have some truth to it.
    – userLTK
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 14:43

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