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Why Toby Flenderson Is The Least Powerful Character On The Office

Toby Flenderson never has an easy go on NBC's The Office. As the official Human Resources rep for the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch, he seemingly holds a position of power, but he never really exercises his authority. For nine seasons, Toby is walked all over by his co-workers. For seven of them, he is the mortal enemy of branch manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell).

There is really no reason for Michael to hate Toby as much as he does. Toby never really cracks down on his boss, or anyone else, whatsoever. Toby simply informs those in the office about when they are doing something inappropriate, and he always delivers his criticisms in the softest and most respectable tone. Still, many times, his co-workers treat him like he doesn't even exist.

Why is Toby dealt such disrespect? Why is this Dunder Mifflin HR rep the least powerful character on The Office? Let's find out.

Toby Flenderson never fights back

Toby's biggest issue is his inability, or unwillingness, to challenge anyone in the office. It isn't just Michael who mistreats him, but almost every employee at one time or another. While some characters like Pam Beesley (Jenna Fischer) and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) aren't rude and dismissive to Toby's face, their silence and dismissal of his notes and memos make them just as guilty.

Everyone knows Toby isn't going to fight back on anything. Occasionally he'll raise his squeaky voice and attempt to battle with his coworkers — like when he tried to say he was the only person dressed appropriately on casual Friday — but he is always shut down in the end.

We're given hints that Toby was walked all over in his marriage by ex-wife Cathy as well, which may influence his submissive behavior around the office. The only thing we ever really see him challenge is an actual church, not a person. During "The Christening" (season 7, episode 7), Toby refuses to go into the church where Jim and Pam are holding their baby's Christening. We previously found out that Toby was a member of a seminary, but dropped out because he wanted to sleep with future ex-wife Cathy. In a brief moment in the episode, we see Toby walking around outside the church. He eventually stops and yells, "Why you always gotta be so mean to me?"

Toby is still being punished to this day long after the series ended. Paul Libertstein — the actor who plays Toby — is the only Office mainstay on Twitter that's not verified, despite having over 100,000 followers.