Is giving a friend preferential treatment illegal in the workplace?

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Is giving a friend preferential treatment illegal in the workplace?

I recently just quit my job due to lack of hours. My boss gave my hours to a friend of his whom he worked at another place with. He also cut my husband’s hours a week after we had our 3rd child, his hours also went to her. He told unemployment that our hours were cut because we were in the slow season and he didn’t have any time to give us. He recently just hired someone else and wouldn’t give my husband full-time hours but the new girl got full-time hours. Isn’t this illegal? My husband is still getting unemployment.

Asked on December 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Employers are not allowed to discriminate in employment--i.e. treat one employee worse, or another better--for certain specifically defined reasons, such as race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability. However, other than for the specifically defined reason, employers are allowed to favor one employee over another--and in particular, no law makes it illegal to favor a personal friend over an employee who is not a friend. If a supervisor hired a friend of his, the law lets him give that friend more hours, more pay, etc.


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