Are there nepotism laws in the workplace?

I have been in the employ of a small company for 25 plus years. Recently I was given notice that due to the economy my pay status has been changed from salary to hourly for the purpose of reducing my hours and thus my wages. The owner of the company and my direct boss hired his son about a year ago to do misc. tasks such as run errands and assist our installers. He began recently assigning him duties that while they are not part of my “official” job description, have been assigned to me many, many times in the past. I am much more qualified, trained, and able to do these duties without supervision and have done so repeatedly. If the assigning of these duties to his son (whom requires training, supervision and instruction) causes a work shortage for me and thus less hours and wages, is this nepotism?? Do I have any recourse?

Asked on December 22, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I'm afraid that you may not have too many rights/options here.  In most states employment relationships are what is known as "at will", and FL is no exception.  What this means is that basically your employer can hire or fire you for any reason,  a bad reason, or no reason whatsoever. It can also increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as it sees fit.  You in turn can work for your employer or not, your choice. 

The exceptions to the above would be if there is a stated company policy contrary to the way in which your situation was handled, or there is a union/employment agreement that does not allow for such  action, or this situation has arisen due to some type of discrimination (i.e., for reasons due to your race, religion, age, disability, sex, national origin).  Nepotism does not qualify you for protection.


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