Company retreat/picnic

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Company retreat/picnic

My employer holds yearly picnics at a ranch owned by the owner. Cash awards are given out as are prizes cruises/all paid vacations. However, the owner only allows females to attend this function. Male employees, except for direct management are invited. Is this legal?

Asked on May 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Most work relationships are "at will", which means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. That is unless doing so violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. Also, it must not constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination. Therefore, if a worker's less favorable treatment is due to their race, religion, national origin, disability, age (over 40), gender, etc. then it is illegal. Based on the facts as you presented them, you indeed appear to have a case for discrimination. You can file a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and/or consult directly wtih a local employment law attorney.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, it would not be legal based on what you write. Illegal discrimination is to treat employees differently--either worse (e.g. harassing or discriminating against them) *or* better (e.g. offering them benefits, perks, compensation, better opportunities, etc.) because of their sex. What you describe appears to constitute such discrimination, since women are given benefits, prizes, etc. men do not get. You could contact the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and look into filing a complaint.


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