What can I do about favoritism in the workplace?

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What can I do about favoritism in the workplace?

I’ve noticed a lot of favoritism in the workplace. Currently there is a co-worker who likes whom like to cause drama at work to get her way. She has reported me to my employer for harassing her when I advised her not to yell or talk to me with a certain tone when I’m just trying to help her cover tables. Now I can’t work certain shifts if she’s working. This has been going on since I started working almost 6 months ago. At that time I was told of the opportunity to be shift leader. Then because of her complaints it ever happened. Now she is dating 1 of our sushi chefs. I was told when I was hired that this was not allowed in the workplace, yet they flaunt it and get special privileges. What do I do? Isn’t this discrimination? I’ve given my complaints but present manager is leaving and I don’t see the new manager making changes since he is someone from our restaraunt.

Asked on February 26, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly. Workplace discrimination only has to do when employees of a "protected class" are treated unfavorably. So if an employee is receiving less favorable treatement due to their race, religion, nationality, age (over 40), gender or disability (and in some states sexual orientation), then that would be illegal. However there is no evidence that is what is happening to you here. Also, if such favoratism violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, that would be illegal. Absent the above, an employer in an "at will" work arrangment can set the terms and conditons of employment much as it sees fit. For their part, an employee can either complain and risk termination, put up with the situation and keep working for the employer or quit.


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