Can my office manager take only some employees phones and hold them in her office until the end of the day or lunch break?

The office had a meeting. There are 4 girls that work at the front of the office and they were asked to give their phones to the office manager to hold until lunchtime and until the end of the day. There are other employees in the office who are allowed to have their phones. Is this unfair or discriminatory against the 4 girls in the office versus the 12 employees in total?

Asked on October 1, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless this action is based on some form of "actionable discrimination", it is legal. In other words, such differing treatment must be based on the workers' race, religion, age (over 40), disability, nationality or gender. Accordingly, since this is does not appear to be the case, you have no claim here. The fact is that as a general rule, not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly. Bottom line, unless taking cell phones away violates the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, your employer doing nothing wrong.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless this action is based on some form of "actionable discrimination", it is legal. In other words, such differing treatment must be based on the workers' race, religion, age (over 40), disability, nationality or gender. Accordingly, since this is does not appear to be the case, you have no claim here. The fact is that as a general rule, not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly. Bottom line, unless taking cell phones away violates the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, your employer doing nothing wrong.


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