What constitutes discrimination in the workplace?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What constitutes discrimination in the workplace?

My job is in healthcare, so the shifts we are required to work can vary. My manager has always promoted people based on seniority, which has been fair with everyone. That is until recently. There have been numerous times when it seems like I have been passed up for the promotion or passed up for the earlier shift, even though my workplace evaluation and status is great. The workers who are getting the earlier shifts do the department schedule and because they have babies and young children, he allows them to work early shifts and not work past a certain time. There were several times where I should have been working the dayshift and to deny me that just because my kids are older and these other workers have babies is unfair to me. I have switched departments and advanced my training which should move me up 1 step above these other workers. When I say that I don’t understand why he’s having less qualified people work in my own department, he just says that I have to have seniority and I do over some of them but just because of my family status he won’t give me a chance. At first he said that once you are on

Asked on February 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, South Dakota


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Discrimnation in the workplace has to do with a worker receiving less favorable treatment due to their race, religion, national origin, disability, age (over 40), etc. However in this case, your age per se is not a factor. It is your family status that is arguably the issue. That having been said, such a status is not legally protected. Under federal and most state law, familial discrimination is not against the law. Even if your state did recognize this form of discrimination as illegal, your employer could argue that there is a business justification for giving your co-workers preferential scheduling and/or promotions. Accordingly, your claim of workplace discrimination will not prevail in a court of law. Your only other recourse would be if your treatment violates the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement or employment contract. Otherwise, as an "at will" worker, your company can set the conditions of your employment much as it sees fit.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption