What are my rights if I was wrongfully demoted from being a supervisor?

UPDATED: Aug 14, 2015

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What are my rights if I was wrongfully demoted from being a supervisor?

I was over 18 route technicians. However, 2 African Americans technicians were subpar employees, which even the district manager knows. They are both below what company standards are. One of them, a female, met with president, regional vice president and district manager several days ago and I was subsequently demoted. His reasoning was, that it wasn’t working out. I’ve been with this company going on 9 years, supervisor 18 months. I never miss work and work over 70 hours a week. Do I have any options?

Asked on August 14, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

IF you believe (and believe the facts will support) that you were demoted because of your race--i.e. if you were not African American as are those two other technicians you mention, that you were discriminated against because you are not African American--then you may have a case for illegal workplace discrimination: the law says that you cannot make employment decisions or take employment action based on a person's race. If you think this is the case, one way to explore your claim is to contact either the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state's equal/civil rights agency and file a complaint.

Bear in mind that unless you had a contract (including a union contract) which is being violated (and if you did, then you may have a breach of contract claim or lawsuit), illegal discrimination such as racial discrimination is essentially the only "wrongful" demotion or other employment action. Employers are allowed to make unfair decisions or stupid decisions, or to favor one person over another as long as the favoritism is not based on race, sex, religion, age over 40, disability, etc.--but favoring one person because he/she is a friend or more likeable is definitely legal. So if your demotion was due to any reason other than illegal discrimination, it is probably not wrongful, even if it is unfair.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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