Can a boss show favoritism to a family member at another employees expense?

I have been working at the same place for 2 1/2years. I used to get 39 hours every week. However, since my bosses son and daughter-in-law started working there, it has become a very uncomfortable work environment. I only got 15 or so hours a week so I was forced to get another job. This week I only got 4 hours. Her son and daughter-in-law got roughly 20. I don’t think this is fair at all. She treats them way better than everyone else, and they never get in trouble like us. They always get hours when they ask and days off. I don’t like it.

Asked on July 30, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, do you have an employment contract or union agreement that establishes the number of hours that you are to work each week?  If so, your employer is in breach and you can make a claim here.  However, if not, then you are an at-will employee and accordingly unless some form of actionable discrimination (for example based on race, religion, disability, etc) is involved, there really isn;t much that you can do about this.  Other than get a new job.  While your boss's actions are unfair they are legal.

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