Is it a illegal to give preferred treatment to other employees family and not some employees non-family

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Is it a illegal to give preferred treatment to other employees family and not some employees non-family

I worked at a small family owned business. Mother-owner, Daughter-operations
manager, Son-large format specialist, and Daughter-in-Law- digital print
specialist. I made mistakes, just like the other employees. They were not
ridiculed but I was. I was treated that way for almost 2 months. When I did
something wrong, she made sure she let me know and everyone else, she talked
down on me no matter who was around customers too. Friday, close to the end
of the day she called me back to her office for a employee performance
evaluation. She basically degraded my intelligence, said they hired me because
she thought I would have more experience she knew I had never worked in the
industry before, it was on my resume. She told me to take the initiative to
learn these things instead of constantly asking questions mind you, training
for me lasted a whole 30 mins. The way she was talking to me the entire time,
was like I was not worth it. She told me if she wanted ‘Tiffany’ to do it she
would just have her do it she was the person handling graphic design before
me, so if I was confused or had a question I would ask Tiffany and she even
told me if I had questions to ask her. The feeling I had after the meeting was
completely worthless, The key points I got out of the meeting are as follows.
1. I am not what they thought I would be 2. Take the initiative to learn and
not to ask questions 3. I am loosing them money 4. I am a low level employee
experience and quality of my job, felt like more of a personal attack on me
not my job quality. her tone and facial expression said it all. I came home
and read up about performance evaluations. It said they do them once a year, at
the top of the form it said 30 day evaluation, I had been there 4 months. You
could tell she googled it and printed it off of the internet. I guess my
question is, is it illegal for her to do this to me. I don’t think any other
employee received an employee evaluation that day. She had me sign the paper,
so I assume if this is a standard in her company shouldn’t she have a file for
all of her employees with past evaluations, and shouldn’t they all have
received a review as well? Also, I read in evaluations there are also good
things that could be mentioned. I had plenty of compliments from her clients on
my good work and attentiveness. Shouldn’t she had mentioned some of my good
qualities?

Asked on January 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends. If some employees are receiving less favorable treatment based on discriminatory factors such as their race, religion, disability (age over 40), national origin and the like, then it is illegal. That having been said, preferential treatment based on any other reason is legal. The fact is that not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly. In an "at will" work setting, employers can set the conditions of the workplace much as they see fit. This holds true so long as a company's action does not violate the terms of any union agreement/collective bargaining agreement or employment contract. 


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