So what are my friends to do? They know what company policy is and they have always striven to defend it. Unfortunately their kindly 'middle manager' is becoming a bit of a liability. This is not the first gaffe in recent times. But the structure of the company requires cohesion and their division has a particular tradition of the middle manager saying 'Jump!' and the underlings replying 'Just how high, Sir?' To go against your superiors, in this division, would be very awkward. Hopefully Head Office might receive copies of all necessary documentation and then they can sort him, whoops I mean it, out!