Can my plant manager give his son special pay and treatment?

Our plant manager will employ his son for brief periods of time, like a week or two, and gives him a pay rate that is literally almost double for doing the same work that others have been doing for years. You can work there for 20-30 years and still not make close to as much as his son makes when he isn’t even 25. It’s not right but is it legal?

Asked on June 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal. That is unless company policy prohibits nepotism or the terms of a union agreement or employment contract are being violated. Additionally, this preferential treatment must not constitute a form of actionable discrimination; in other words, you must not be given lesser treatment based on your membership in a "protected class" (i.e. based on your race, religion, disability, etc.). The fact is that, not all employees need be treated the same; a company can set the terms and conditions of employment much as it sees fit. Accordingy, an employee in a case such as yours, can either put up with the situation, complain and risk termination, or quit. Bottom line while unfair and unprofessional, it is legal.


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