What can I do if my company is applying the rules of the workplace inconsistently?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can I do if my company is applying the rules of the workplace inconsistently?

I am a shift manager at a fast food chain. I work in a franchise, so the rules are sometimes not as enforced as they may need to be. However, since the day I was promoted to manager I have pushed all rules, no matter how small, while I am at work. Supervisors and my GM did not do the same and would often break the rules themselves. I dated a crew member for the first year that I was a manager. This was against the rules but everyone, including the owner, was aware of it. Under this rule, we are not supposed to work with anyone we are dating or related to by blood or marriage. Currently, we have sisters X and D who are sisters, as well as J and A who are sisters. Both sets of sisters are a manager and a crew member, so one of them is above the other. We also have to managers-in-training who are dating. I started seeing a department manager a few weeks ago and was honest and up front with my general manager since the beginning. We opened up to the supervisors yesterday and were told one of us would have to leave. They are aware of the siblings working together, as well as the other couple but have done nothing to remedy those situations.

Asked on January 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that a company can completely disregard its own policy or enforce it inconsistently. This is true so long as doing so does not result in some form of legally actionable discrimination/retaliation or violates the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or employment contract (which can be formed depending on the language contained in the company handbook). Otherwise, not all employees need be treated equally or even fairly. The fact is that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. While seemingly unfair, it is the law.

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