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I am a manager at a hotel and am Having a problem with my HR…

Hello I am a...

Hello I am a manager at a hotel and am Having a problem with my HR department showing a level of favoritism to some of my employees that is a little alarming. I was wondering if I can get any advise on this?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

This is happening in New Mexico but the company is housed in California

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

At will full time

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

The person that they seem to be protecting is a woman who is a spanish speaker

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10/13/2017
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 15,340
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

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Good evening,

Favoritism that is based on discrimination can be illegal because that could be seen as workplace discrimination.

happens when employers make job decisions based on employees' protected characteristics -- traits that federal, state, or local governments have decided should not be the basis of employment actions. If workplace favoritism is based on protected characteristics, then it is illegal discrimination. For example, if a manager promotes only men or gives the best assignments and shifts to employees who share his religious beliefs, that would be discrimination.

On the other hand, favoritism that's based on other factors may not be discriminatory, even if it's a sign of bad management. For example, if a manager favors employees who are her college buddies, who are fans of the same baseball team, or who love the same band, that is not discrimination. It may have nothing to do with the fact that she is Spanish speaking, or it may have everything to do with it. There's not enough here for me to make that judgment.

So it depends on why there is favoritism. If this employee is getting better job assignments, more time off, better wages, not written up for things other employees are, etc. and it's because of her national origin (e.g., male employees or Caucasian employees are treated worse or differently) then that could be workplace discrimination.

If management won't address your concerns, and you believe you are the victim of workplace discrimination, then you need to both a) consider speaking with an employment law attorney about your rights and remedies, and b) consider filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at www.eeoc.gov.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I will give you a couple of example that our HR department have done recently. For instance we have video footage of this employee leaving the hotel while clocked in for more than an hour, multiple times and our HR's response is to write up every employee in the hotel for failing to use the time clock. another is this employee recently became injured out of work with a shoulder injury where the dr. recommended light duty but we are required to have this employee work their regular shift and have them do nothing but room inspections, where as we have another employee with a much more severe shoulder injury that has been cleared to work on light duty but we are not allowed to have them work. I am just wondering what is going on.

I agree there seems to be a double standard with this employee, but I would caution that you not jump to conclusions and assume it is based on her nationality. For all you or I or anyone else knows, they could be protecting her because she is the niece of the owner of the hotel. Has anyone brought up the discrepancies to management and expressed that it is causing some dissatisfaction among other employees? I think that would be a very good place to start.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
multiple times. Earlier we brought up and issue where she was hiding equipment and goods places in the hotel, which is against policy, and again Hr wrote everyone up and asked us why we were looking in to this. Secondarily, a week later she accused an employee of theft, unsubstantiated and the employee was terminated for that theft.Our staff feel life this person can do anything and they have to pick up the pieces. Anytime we ask about any issue related to this employee we are told that this could be retaliation but we can't figure out what the retaliation would be against.

If a manager's decisions are intended to punish employees who have complained of illegal behavior (such as discrimination, harassment, or unsafe working conditions), that could be illegal retaliation. Punishing those of you who complain by allowing her to get away with things other employees can't is retaliatory if again they are favoring her because of a protected class like her race, nationality,etc.

Is she the only Spanish employee working there? Are other minorities shown favoritism? Other women?

RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
We have several Spanish speaking employees but all of them but one other are bilingual. She is head of housekeeping. I am not sure that her speaking Spanish is the reason that she is being protected unless there are unknown difficulties that the hr department has when dealing with someone. Keep in mind, this isn't about her being fired so much as it is about her being held accountable for her actions.

And that is the problem. Favoritism by itself isn't necessarily illegal. If she's related to someone or knows someone in the hotel or there is some other reason why they are protecting her, that's not unlawful. It's only unlawful if it's illegal (e.g., they are favoring her because of her nationality). The fact that there are other Spanish employees there and they are treated like everyone else, but she isn't, suggests this isn't about her nationality, either. I don't know what the reasoning is but it doesn't sound like -from these limited facts - that they are treating her better because she's Spanish, or a woman, or anything like that.

You can certainly still file a complaint with the EEOC if you want to (www.eeoc.gov) -an employer cannot retaliate against you or anyone else that files it. The EEOC will look into workplace discrimination complaints and ask an employer to provide an explanation as to their actions. Investigations can take around 6 months. If the EEOC does find discrimination, they can work to try to reach a resolution between the employer and the employees.

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