Why should employees be wary of selective rule enforcement?

When you work at a company, you are subject to the biases and attitudes of managers and human resources professionals. Sometimes, through no fault of your own, you could face discrimination or retaliation from other people in your workplace.

Whether there is a manager who resents your request for reasonable accommodations related to an injury or a human resources manager with a bias against your religion, you might find yourself struggling to keep your job. One of the most glaring warning signs you might experience of upcoming wrongful termination is the unequal application of the rules.

Companies cannot discriminate in their enforcement of the rules

Employers have the right to set rules and standards for their employees’ conduct, job performance and even appearance. What they cannot do is required different things from different workers or unequally enforce the rules that they set.

A rule that a company does not enforce for anyone should not be the reason your manager writes you up. A company can only legally enforce rules that it enforces uniformly for everyone. Selective rule enforcement is often a sign of discrimination or mistreatment of the employee(s) singled out for discipline.

If the company only enforces the rules against certain people or against you specifically, each disciplinary effort is likely a step toward wrongful termination or to try to get you to quit.

Businesses try to hide their mistreatment of workers

If a company wants to fire a worker for making a complaint or for personal characteristics protected under the law, they will usually try to hide their real motivation for the termination. Writing someone up repeatedly for minor rule infractions can be a quick and easy excuse to terminate someone. With enough arbitrary rule enforcement, it may not take long to reach the point where termination can appear like a legitimate option.

Keeping your own records about what you feel is unfair discipline could help bolster your case if you do wind up wrongfully terminated from your job. An experienced attorney can provide you with further guidance.