Is it illegal to make a peer mentor who works in a locked mental facility take the patients on several long walks every day in extremely hot weather?

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Is it illegal to make a peer mentor who works in a locked mental facility take the patients on several long walks every day in extremely hot weather?

This question is regarding someone i know who i believe is being treated unfairly at work but i am not sure if it is illegal or not since the treatment is not based on gender, race, spiritual beliefs, etc. Before she started working here they used to rotate the schedule so everyone would have to go on the walks at different times but now they just make her do it every time while everyone else sits around eating and talking on the phone. She is more worried about the patients getting a sun stroke or something but i am worried about her as well.

Asked on August 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is most likely not illegal. Nothing requires employers to distribute work fairly, or prevents the employer from favoring some employees other others. The exception would be if the difference in treatment is due to illegal discrimination, such as against your friend because she is a woman, or because of her race, her religion, because she is over 40 (if she is), or because she is disabled (if she is). If she is treated worse due to a characteristiclike  these, she should speak to your state equal or civil rights agency, or the federal EEOC, to see if  she has a claim; otherwise, though, the employer may make her take the patients for walks. Based on what you write, it appears that she would not have a claim, since you say it is not based on gender, race, spiritual beliefs, etc.


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