Favoritism: Mind Workplace Harassment Laws and Still Play Favorites


“You can’t play favorites at work.”  Who says?  Where did this start? You’d better hope that your key customers/clients are playing favorites with your product or service. Your human resources department is supposed to be supporting the goals and objectives of management. If you ever hear an HR person say you can’t play favorites…run away!

I will play favorites based on performance and/or behavior. If my best sales person can’t make the mandatory Monday morning sales meeting…fine.  He/she obviously doesn’t need the pep talk. Let them go forth and sell. And, if you double your sales, not only do you not have to go to the meeting, I’ll hire you an administrative assistant to take care of all your paperwork!

Whoa…What about morale?

Is your goal at work to a conflict-free environment. Impossible.  You are working with people. Conflict is not good or bad, it just is. If the conflict is coming from my worst employees, do more of it. If the conflict is coming from my A players, then I take a second look.

Where Human Resources gets rightfully concerned is when you use “The List” (age, sex, race, religion, national origin, disability, etc.) to play favorites. This kind of employer harassment can get legal outsiders on your case in a hurry.  Remember, the burden of proof is on the employer…you must prove that you didn’t use the list to play favorites.

Play favorites based on performance/behavior, not based on “The List.”

Hunter Lott’s human resources consultancy helps clients in positions like yours make informed decisions.  If you have a question for Hunter, or a suggestion for a future blog post, contact Hire 2 Fire today!.