Was I discriminated against by my employer?

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Was I discriminated against by my employer?

I work for a good company but 5 months ago I went and saw the doctor and he told me that I had a stress fracture in my foot and told me that I needed to be in a walking boot. Upon telling my employer this I was told that I could not return to work without a custom made enclosed toe boot, so I used my vacation and spent another week off unpaid. About a month later, one of my managers broke her foot and was able to return to work with a regular open toe walking boot. Then today there happened to be another employee at work with an open toed walking boot on. The more I thought about it I remembered that a couple years ago there was another employee with an open toed walking boot. I am a male and all 3 of the others that were allowed back to work are female. I feel cheated because I had to use my vacation and was not allowed back to work.

Asked on October 24, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, it is *possible* that you were discriminated against, since the only male with a broken foot was treated differently than the three women. Of course, there could also be non-discriminatory explanations for the differential treatment: e.g. were the injuries not comparable (different severity, different locations on foot, etc.); does your job require more walking, so you needed to be treated differently than the others?

Even if you were discriminated against, you need to think about whether it's worth trying to take action: you say it's a good company, but to take legal action against will presumably damage your relationship with it (even though under the law, companies are not allowed to retaliate for bringing a sex discrimination claim, it's very easy to retaliate in some way without creating an actionable case about retaliation).

If you think you may want to go ahead, then you need to consult with an employment attorney, who can evaluate all the facts in detail.


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