Is it legal to allow one employee go to school during work hours but not allow another?

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Is it legal to allow one employee go to school during work hours but not allow another?

I am a full-time salaried employee. I work in an office. I have recently started back to school

and have requested time to go to school in the mornings on Monday and Wednesday from 8:00-10:00 and come in to work after. My normal work times are 8:00-4:30. Our company policy states that any day with over 4 hours worked is considered a full day. My supervisor has told me that I have to be sure to work my full 8.5 hours even though I am going to school in the morning. I am not a bad employee and my work is always complete and correct. I can complete all tasks even while I am in school. There is another employee in the same type office setting who has been going to school for several years now and she is allowed to work 4-5 hours a day while she is in school and has not been working her full 8.5 hours. Our race, sex and age are all the same. She makes a few hundred dollars less than me a year, so our salaries are even about the same. Is it legal for my employer to make me work 8.5 hours a day while in school yet allow her to work 4 and go to school? We even attend the same school.

Asked on June 2, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that not all employees must be treated the same, or for that matter even fairly. It is perfectly legal to give one worker preferential treatment. This is true so long as such treatment does not constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination. In other words, if an employee isnot given the same treatment as others due to the race, religion, nationality, age (over 40), disability, gender, etc. they would have a legal claim. Otherwise, lesser treatment is perfectly permissable under the law. Also, an employer's action cannot violate the terms of any applicable union agreement or employment contract. Absent that, a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit or deems appropriate.


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