Unlawful Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

Although favoritism stunts an organization’s growth, employers remain partial to some members of their staff. And as a joint study by Penn Schoen Berland Research and Georgetown University reveals, the detrimental practice is going nowhere anytime soon.

Is Favoritism Unlawful?

As long as the partiality remains just a preference, it violates no Favoritism in the Workplace LAWS. If anything, it is a sign of poor management. Remember, some of your colleagues have more vibrant personalities or better social skills than you. Others are experts at kissing up to or are even related to the boss. As a result, they get into the boss’s good books and make the most of it.

When is Favoritism Unlawful?

Any partiality that is not as a result of preference is considered unlawful. For instance, you get passed over for a promotion, thanks to your gender, religion, or race. Or, your disability or age disqualify you from office perks. That is unlawful discrimination.

Now, supposing your superior makes sexual advances, and you refuse. If they respond by withdrawing priviledges, that amounts to unlawful sexual harassment. The charge holds if your office mate receives priviledges as a result of having a consentual relationship with a senior colleague. In the eyes of the law, the superior will have made it clear that sex advances a career.

When bosses extend favors to their relatives, favorites, or relatives of their favorites, that is Nepotism in the Workplace. But when they assign the best projects, shifts, clients to colleagues who do not challenge or complain against them, that is unlawful retaliation.

How Does Favoritism Affect an Organization?

Workers are the most affected by favoritism and nepotism. Angry, bitter, and resentful, they lose their drive and stop being productive. Soon, they desert the company or seek legal redress. For its part, the company loses valuable workers to competitors while the few workers who remain become disgruntled and disillusioned. If they chose to seek legal redress, the organization also incurs financial loses as a result.

How Do You to Stop Favoritism?

To discourage biased promotions, create a performance-based assessment system that rewards worthy employees. In addition, allow cross-level meetings where senior executives meet with their junior executive’s staff. Finally, point out favoritism when you see it.

As a junior executive, maintain professional relationships with your superiors, refuse any unwanted closeness, and even the benefits of favoritism. Also, stop ostracizing the favored workers because their privileged status might not be their fault. Finally, speak up boldly against the vice.


Is workplace favoritism illegal? That depends on the circumstances. However, if you find yourself a recipient of the behavior, do not accept it. But if you are the perpetrator, stop before you lose valuable workers or have a legal suit on your hands.