Is it discrimination if an employee is not allowed to take a break where managers and supervisors do?

UPDATED: Mar 7, 2012

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Is it discrimination if an employee is not allowed to take a break where managers and supervisors do?

It was 2 o’clock break time and I went out the doors closest to the area where I work. The plant manager was sitting outside the doors with 2 supervisors just chit chatting as most people do on break. I was told that I was not allowed to take a break there. I was forced to take break outside in the back of the building where all the smokers were sitting. I am a non-smoker so I spoke up and was told I could sit in the break room (which is not air conditioned). I work in a factor which is not air conditioned. So I declined to sit in the break room. We are not allowed to sit in our cars.

Asked on March 7, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It may be "discrimination," but it is not illegal. Employers are permitted to treat employees differently, and in particularly are allowed to treat managers and supervisors better than non-managerial staff. Only certain kinds of discrimination are prohibited by law, such as discrimination based on race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability. However, apart from specifically prohibited types, employers may discriminate against employees, treating one better or differently than another, and in particular, managers may be given--or take for themselves--privileges which the rank-and-file do not receive.

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