can employer deviate from company policy, and cba.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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can employer deviate from company policy, and cba.

I was absent for medical reasons. upon my return my employer assessed points for each day, contrary to the policy that we could use three days at any time for any reason in order to reduce points. His reason was cause he said so. HR rep said that the policy did not allow me to use time that way, which is untrue. I am african-american and I know white, latino, native american employees were allowed to use their time according to the policy. This employer also ‘cashed in’ my time without my request and paid me, but I didn’t benefit from the point reduction and then fired me because I violated the attendance policy by acquiring too many points. I was allowed one of the three discretionary vacation days. Is this a violation of Section 1981?

Asked on March 13, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There are two separate issues:
1) Can an employer deviate from its own policies as a general matter? Yes: those policies are the employer's own voluntary choice, and they can chose to alter or not follow them at will, unless--and only if--the policies were embodied in a written employment contract for a defined or set period of time (like a one-year contract) which has not yet expired; policies contained within a contract may be enforced in court by a "breach of contract" lawsuit as any other contract may be enforeced or sued over.
2) Can an employer treat a minority employee differently simply because he or she is a minority, and not due to some non-racially based reason (such as the employee's actions or behavior)? No--the law prohibits racial discrimination, as you are evidently aware. You apear to be having difficulty with the procedural elements of the complaint (how to properly submit and formulate it): you should consult with an employment law attorney, who can evaluate your claim (how strong it is, what it may be worth, etc.) and help you if you decide to move forward. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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