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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37818
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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At my office, they have a strict policy in place about working

Customer Question

At my office, they have a strict policy in place about working remotely, but a co-worker who has a special relationship with my direct manager and his manager (VP) do not apply this policy to her. I have spoken with my direct manager about my concerns, but they are ignored. It's starting to feel like discrimination, in that everyone else in the department is held to the company policy.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 years ago.

If the "special relationship" is intimate, then this could represent what is known as "quid pro quo" sex discrimination. This means that there is an implied requirement that obtaining prefered treatment as an employee is subject to a willingness to extend sexual favors to the employer.

If you believe that this is what is in play in your office, then you and your coworkers can file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I don't believe the relationship is sexual. They were friends before the department was created, so we believe this is why she is given special privileges over the rest of the team.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 years ago.
Well, okay then.

An employer can lawfully discriminate in favor of or against an employee, as long as the discrimination is not based upon race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, or sexual orientation of any person.

If there is no sexual relationship, then there is no sex discrimination, and the discrimination is simply based upon personal friendship, then there is no grounds for legal action against the employer.

I realize that this may not be what you want to read, but the law is extremely clear, that in order for discrimination to be actionable in court, there must be something more than mere personal preference granted by the employer to an employee.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

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