In an ideal world, an employer would pay employee wages and benefits based on their job performance. However, this is not always how it works. Sometimes managers hire friends and family members and decide to play favorites with them, even though they may not be the best employees. Instead, hard-working employees are often shunned or even discriminated against.
This is the result of employee favoritism. While it is unethical to favor one employee over another, it is not necessarily illegal. This practice can negatively impact employee morale and lead to decreased productivity. Despite these impacts on the workplace, employee favoritism is generally illegal unless it crosses the line into discrimination or assault.
Employee favoritism is generally legal. Small family-owned businesses generally engage in nepotism, which is when family members are favored over other employees. This is acceptable as long as other employees are not discriminated against. Even if there is resentment, it is not illegal per se.
When Employee Favoritism Turns Into Discrimination
Employers can not discriminate against employers based on their gender, age, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. This discrimination can take the form of favoritism. For example, if men in the office are the only ones who receive promotions, raises and bonuses, yet the women work just as hard and do not receive any of these perks, then it may be possible that the employer is discriminating against the women.
When Employee Favoritism Turns Into Sexual Assault
In some situations, employee favoritism can lead to serious crimes. If a manager rewards those who perform sexual favors for them, for example, the manager can face serious consequences. This is considered sexual assault, which is criminal behavior. On the other hand, if an employee refuses their advances and the manager retaliates against the employee, the manager could face a discrimination suit. The result is lost job opportunities, which is against the law.
When Favoritism Violates Company Policies
In some cases, favoritism can violate company policies. For example, if a contract states that an employee can not be fired unless there is a good cause, but the employee is fired so that the manager’s husband can fill the spot, then this would be considered illegal.
Another situation would be if the company handbook states that raises would be given after six months of good performance. If some employees were skipped over for raises for no apparent reason, then this may be considered discrimination.
Contact a New York Employment Discrimination Lawyer
While employee favoritism in itself is generally not illegal, it can be if it leads to discrimination or harassment. If you have been coping with a boss’s favorite employee and it has led to illegal activities, it is time to seek legal help.
The outcome of an employee favoritism case will depend on the facts, such as who was favored and who was not, and why. The experienced New York discrimination lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can evaluate your claim and see if you are entitled to any compensation. Schedule a free consultation by calling (347) 464-8694.