Today I want to talk to you a little bit about how to deal with unfair treatment at work. In evaluating an unfair treatment claim courts use what’s called the McDonnell Douglas framework. Under which the plaintiff has the initial burden of establishing a case by showing that he or she was a qualified member of a protected class and was subjected to an adverse employment action in contrast with similarly situated employees outside the protected class.
Protected class under federal law are classes like race, national origin, religion, age, sex and disability. Plaintiff and competitors outside the protected class who are treated more favorably must be similarly situated in all relevant aspects. This prevents the courts from second-guessing the business decision of employer’s reasonable decisions in confusing apples with oranges. Now if you’re a member of a protected class and you’re being treated less favorably than employees outside your protected class and those employees have essentially the same job functions then you should immediately report this to Human Resources in writing or better yet file a charge of discrimination with the EOC it’s unlawful for your employer to retaliate against you for exercising your statutorily protected rights.
Now the important thing to remember is that unfair treatment must be based on your membership and protected class. If you’re being treated unfairly for some of the other reason your employer is not breaking a law. In other words you can be treated unfairly by your boss for any reason as long as it’s not because of your race, national origin, religion, age, sex, or disability.
For example, you can be treated unfairly because your boss just doesn’t like you that is perfectly legal, it’s not unlawful for your boss to be a jerk in an at-will employment system like here in Florida.