Am I being discriminated against?

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Am I being discriminated against?

I have been at my current job for over 5 years now and haven’t been late or called into work. Since I have been at my job, I have always depended on a ride to work. Now I am going to school for my bachelor’s degree; I attend school online. Anyway, I have always worked 8 hour shifts but have now been moved to housekeeping from laundry and they want me to do 12 hour shifts. I have told my supervisor that I can do 8 hour shifts but not 12 hour shifts because where I live is about an hour from my job and I depend on a ride to get to from work, plus go to school. I was told they provide me with a job but in essence don’t care how I get to/from work; I either do what’s on the schedule or I don’t have a job. However, there are 2 people in laundry now that came into laundry in less than a year and work nights but my supervisor didn’t move either one of them into housekeeping. I don’t know if it matters that I’m white and that they’re black but I find it’s odd that I wasn’t even given an option or anything. I feel like I’m being force into it for no good reason and so feel like I might be being discriminated against. Also, out of everyone in the laundry and housekeeping departments, I have been there longer than the rest. I also went to the higher up supervisor and told him my situation. The higher up supervisor told me that he was going to try to talk to my immediate supervisor and also told me to try to come as early as I can. I am going to give the higher up supervisor a couple of days to try to see what’s going on with my supervisor but if it turns out that they still are making me do it and don’t give me a good reason why I am being forced into it, I am going to go to the next higher up. I just want to know if I have any rights, especially since they are moving me to a different department and having me work longer hours without even consulting me first.

Asked on January 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, an employer may freely set or change an employee's job, duties, and schedule, without any regard for the effect on the employee--the employer simply does not have to care about whether you can work that schedule or not, for example. And being there 5 years does not matter, unless you have some sort of contract (like a union contract) giving you seniority rights.
IF you can show that the reason, you and not the other employees were moved to a less desirable job--assuming that housekeeping is *generally* less desirable, not only that it isn't as good for you personally (e.g. it pays less)--was due to race, that may be illegal discrimination. That the white, not the black employees, were moved suggests this, but does not prove it--there could be very good reasons for this, like the fact that they wanted a more-experienced employee for the role. But if there is no non-discriminatory reason and housekeeping is worse position, this could be discrimination. (Note that if housekeeping is generally a better position--e.g. more pay, or the possibility of tips--then this would *not* be discrimination.)
If you feel it may be discriminatory, contact the federal EEOC and discuss bringing a discrimination complaint.


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