If my employer sends me home for being on light duty but not another person on light duty, are my rights being violated?

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If my employer sends me home for being on light duty but not another person on light duty, are my rights being violated?

I am a while male and I have a doctor’s excuse for being on light duty, but my boss sent me home stating, “I have to send you some, I have nothing for you. I already have 1 guy on workman’s comp. You don’t look good walking around”. The other guy on light duty is African American and is covered by workman’s comp. My boss also said, “(other employee) is on light duty through workman’s comp, this is just your thing”.

Asked on August 24, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You may have a cause of action for illegal discrimination. The key issue is whether there is any nondiscriminatory reason for the difference in treatment. For example, if the other fellow's restriction lets him do things you can't; if the other person's job is different than yours, and is less affected by the restriction; if there is only one light-duty job available, and it was given to the other guy first; if the other person has skills or credentials you lack, making him more flexible in terms of what he can do--essentially, if there is a legitimate reason, not based on race, to treat him differently, then there is no discrimination. And conversely, if there is no non-discriminatory reason, it may be illegal discrimination. If you think it might be illegal discrimination, you may wish to contact your state's equal or civil rights agency to see about filing a complaint.


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