What if one employee is treated differently than others?

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What if one employee is treated differently than others?

I have taken late lunches at work for over 3 years. Yesterday morning, my supervisor send me an email ordering me to take my lunch from 12-12:30 from now on. When I asked him why I was being given a specific lunch period when no other employee has been subjected to the same treatment, the HR Person said this is a new policy. At the time, I was the only person being notified of this new policy and it wasn’t until the late afternoon that an official email, which is usually how we are notified of policy changes, was sent out. Even so, all other employees who took their lunch outside this new specified time frame, still continued to do so today. I am the only employee who was forced to take my lunch break according to this new company wide policy. Is this discrimination?

Asked on July 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I'm afraid that based on the facts that you have presented this is not a case of wrongful termination. As a general rule, employees do not have to be treated equally or even fairly. The fact is that it is perfectly legal to give one employee more favorable treatment than another as long as the treatment does not violate company policy, an employment contract, or union agreement. Additionally, such differing treatment must not be the result of discrimination. Consequently, if you were given less favorable treatment due to your status in a legally protected class, that would be against the law.

Note:  A protected class is one based on a person's inclusion in a group due to factors of race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, etc.


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