What constitutes discrimination in the workplace?

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What constitutes discrimination in the workplace?

My job is in healthcare, so the shifts we are required to work can vary. My manager has always promoted people based on seniority, which has been fair with everyone. That is until recently. There have been numerous times when it seems like I have been passed up for the promotion or passed up for the earlier shift, even though my workplace evaluation and status is great. The workers who are getting the earlier shifts do the department schedule and because they have babies and young children, he allows them to work early shifts and not work past a certain time. There were several times where I should have been working the dayshift and to deny me that just because my kids are older and these other workers have babies is unfair to me. I have switched departments and advanced my training which should move me up 1 step above these other workers. When I say that I don’t understand why he’s having less qualified people work in my own department, he just says that I have to have seniority and I do over some of them but just because of my family status he won’t give me a chance. At first he said that once you are on

Asked on February 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, South Dakota

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Discrimnation in the workplace has to do with a worker receiving less favorable treatment due to their race, religion, national origin, disability, age (over 40), etc. However in this case, your age per se is not a factor. It is your family status that is arguably the issue. That having been said, such a status is not legally protected. Under federal and most state law, familial discrimination is not against the law. Even if your state did recognize this form of discrimination as illegal, your employer could argue that there is a business justification for giving your co-workers preferential scheduling and/or promotions. Accordingly, your claim of workplace discrimination will not prevail in a court of law. Your only other recourse would be if your treatment violates the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement or employment contract. Otherwise, as an "at will" worker, your company can set the conditions of your employment much as it sees fit.


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