Is it legal to treat employees differently?

My former employer released me saying that I resigned my position for no call/no show 2 days in a row. This is true. The plant manager said, “we have rules and we all have to follow them”. This is only partially true. I am aware of a family member who is on the payroll who shows up a couple times per year for no business reason and he hasn’t resigned his position for failing to follow the rules we all must follow. There are many other rules violations that do not result in loss of employment. I feel like the rules haven’t been applied equally in all cases. Is this a form of discrimination? Do I have a case against my former employer?

Asked on September 14, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Actually, employees do not have to be treated the same or even fairly. discrimination in employment is not against the law unless it is involves an employee who is a member of a "protected class". This means that if an employee is discriminted against due to their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability that is illegal. Otherwise, different treatment is in the workplace is not against the law.
Thay having been said, if you feel that you are a victim of retaliation or your employer's action is against company policy, then you might have a case. Also, if yout treatment violates the terms of an employment contract or union/collective bargaining agreement then then would be illegal.

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