What constitutes employment discrimination?

I am an aircraft mechanic and spend a decent amount of time at work researching documents and references that tell us how to fix the aircrafts we work on. We have always had chairs to sit in while researching this information but recently management has removed all chairs from all hangars or computer areas and said that we must now stand. However, management may keep chairs in their air conditioned offices. In my opinion we are being treated differently than management and would like to know if this is legal? We feel like we are being treated differently.

Asked on September 4, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Does this differing treatment violate the terms of an employment contract, union, agreement company policy or the like? If not then it is legal. The fact is that not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly. So unless this action was the result of some form of legally actionable discrimination or retaliation, it breaks no law. The fact is that most employment relationships are what is known as "at will". This means that an employer can set the terms and conditons of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes who sits and who stands.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Employers are allowed to discriminate--that is, to treat some employees diffferently--at will, unless and only if specifically prevented by law. The law bars certain kinds of discrimiantion, such as against employees due to their race, sex, religioin, age over 40, or disability but it does NOT bar treating management and non-management differently. It is perfectly legal for management to be treated better than non-management in fact, it's almost universal, with management getting better perks, bigger offices, etc. What you describe is completely legal, acceptable, and common.


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