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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


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

Answered 6 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.

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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