Must all employees receive the same disciplinary action for the same incident?

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Must all employees receive the same disciplinary action for the same incident?

A co-worker threw his drink on me and as a knee jerk reaction I slapped him. I was suspended and facing termination in a few days. The co-worker is not being disciplined, is this legal? The co-worker has a criminal history of violence toward women.

Asked on December 20, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, not all employees have to be treated equally. It is perfectly legal to give one employee more favorable treatment than another as long as such treatment does not violate company policy, a union agreement or employment contract. Also, if the differing treatment is the result of actionable discrimination. So for example, if you have been given less favorable treatment due to your status as a member in a legally protected class that would violate the law.

Note:  There can be no discrimination in employment based on such factors as: race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, national origin.


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