May 17, 2018
Discrimination, Favoritism And A Hostile Work Environment
Legally speaking, discrimination and favoritism are not the same thing. Discrimination is the purposeful or passive unjust treatment of another person that is based on their race, age or sex.
There is a fine line that is easily crossed when it comes to favoritism and discrimination. Where favoritism can be ill-advised in a productive workplace, it does not innately fall under the classification of discrimination.
Have A Workplace Discussion About Discrimination
Speaking with the person that is the cause of the situation is always the first step. Sometimes there is simply a misunderstanding about workplace boundaries; other times it is a purposeful attempt at putting another person at a disadvantage.
If the person is unwilling to change their behavior, it is within your right to file a complaint with your company. If that is unsuccessful, or you want to sue, the next step is to file an administrative charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Without filing an administrative charge, your lawsuit will be thrown out. At this point it is advised to seek legal council and look at your federal and state rights in regards to protected attributes.
If your workplace environment, such as the conduct of a coworker or boss, is unwelcome and offensive to the point that it is not honoring the terms and conditions of your employment, therein affecting your ability to work and your personal life.
To sue for work environment harassment, the offender must have based the harassment on a protected attribute (ie. race, religion, age or sex).
It is not illegal for your boss to be a jerk. If their behavior is consistent, affecting most or everyone in the workplace, their behavior probably does not violate a protected attribute. If you want to take action, speak with your supervisor, their boss or the human resources department about the behavior that is creating the hostile work environment.
If you or someone you know need legal assistance in Kansas or Missouri, contact us today at (816) 875-0470!