What is Differential Treatment? - Brown Kwon & Lam, LLP.

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What is Differential Treatment?

Posted December 29, 2021 | Discrimination, Employment Law

If you notice that you’re not being treated the same as other employees, it can be extremely discouraging. Maybe your employer seems nicer to certain employees or gives them better tasks than others receive. When employees don’t receive the same type of treatment in the workplace, it’s known as differential treatment. This can lead to some employees feeling unwelcome or unwanted in the workplace and cause them to lose motivation.

Employees who believe they don’t receive the same treatment from management as other employees may have concerns. Let Brown Kwon & Lam help you understand more about differential treatment and when you need to get help.

Is Differential Treatment Illegal?

It might seem like treating employees differently would always be illegal, but this is not the case. While it might not seem fair and can be hurtful, there are many times when treating employees differently is not illegal. Employers may have many reasons as to why they give certain employees one type of treatment and a different type to others.

Some employees may receive differential treatment due to their job performance or the duties of their position. For example, more senior employees may be closer with management due to the requirements of their jobs and therefore receive different treatment than entry-level employees.

Although it can be unfortunate, some employees may be treated differently due to personality differences. Differential treatment can sometimes seem unfair and might not always be a good practice, but this doesn’t mean it’s illegal.

When is Differential Treatment Illegal?

There are many examples of situations where differential treatment is legal, but there are still instances where this behavior can be illegal. If the differential treatment is caused by discrimination, it’s illegal. You might notice that only employees with certain characteristics are treated unfairly and that there is a pattern of this behavior. It is illegal for employees to be treated differently due to their membership in a protected class, which includes the following:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Genetic Information
  • Familial or marital status
  • National Origin

Additionally, it’s also illegal to discriminate against employees who engage in protected activity. This includes employees who report or oppose discrimination or harassment in the workplace and those who participate in investigations of these behaviors. This is known as retaliation, and various laws protect employees from it.

Since differential treatment is often legal, it can sometimes be difficult for employees to decipher the difference between when it’s unfair and when it could be breaking a law. An employment discrimination lawyer can help employees who believe they’re being treated differently due to discrimination.

NYC Employment Discrimination Lawyers Who Can Help

You deserve to be treated fairly in your workplace. While this doesn’t always happen, and there are many times when you can’t take legal action to get help, if you’re experiencing discrimination or retaliation, there are options. At Brown Kwon & Lam, we help employees in New York City in situations like this so that they can receive justice for the illegal actions taken against them.

Contact us today to see if you may need an employment discrimination lawyer.

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