Favoritism at work: ethics in the workplace

favoritism at work We all have been a victim to favoritism at work.

Sometimes we are not aware when work favoritism happens to us.

Most times we are not aware.  Sometimes people do not care.

There is a famous phrase that permeates throughout the workplace and in our everyday lives.   The phrase is “It is not what you know, but who you know.”

People should base your ability to do the job on your qualifications.

We were taught to get educated, volunteer, give to charities.

Does building up your resume mean anything anymore?

What happened to promotion by merit?

As a young man I refused to believe favoritism at work happens.   I did not know I was naive. I think most people would say I was dumb to expect more.

Maybe I was, but I refuse to give up on humanity.

I quickly learned that favoritism is rampant in some work environments and easily disguised.

Words related to favoritism.

Cronyism and Nepotism are more specialized terms.

While cronyism and nepotism are closely related to favoritism.



cronyism=refers to showing favoritism to friends or acquaintances.

I know you have heard of  the phrase Good Ol’ Boys.  The term cronyism  derives from this behavior.  It has gone on for centuries.

A good example of this behavior is when politicians return favors to those who helped them get elected.  The politician offers a position to one of his friends or he relaxes laws to help his colleagues.

Politicians have been getting away with this tactic for years.

Do you think cronyism is ethical?

Would you continue to support a politician if they were found guilty of cronyism?

Do you believe cronyism is the way things get done in Washington D.C.?



nepotism=refers to the favor shown  to relatives.  The term comes from the Latin word nepos meaning nephew.

It may not be fair but employers are smart enough not to show they hired a person because of nepotism.

On the other hand, I would report favoritism at work if it was obvious.   I would hate to work for the boss’s son or close relative.  I could never really trust him.

Most of the time it will be you who gets reassigned to another job if a problem arises.

Have you ever worked for a boss’s son?

If a relative were hired instead of you, would you make noise or continue to be a loyal employee?

Can you name another environment where favoritism happens?

How can we fight favoritism at work?

Do you believe there are good reasons for showing favoritism?

If you were the benefactor of favoritism at work, how would you feel ethically?

The bottom-line is that no matter what level of  favoritismif it’s based on race, gender, religion it is illegal.  The EEOC has laws protecting us against workplace favoritism.

If you feel you are a victim of workplace favoritism, you should file a grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The E.E.O.C. is responsible for all discrimination in the workplace.  Make sure you check with your job to see if you have a local representative.

The representative can help walk you through the grievance process or help you resolve the problem.

Keep in mind that nobody can stop you from filing a grievance with the EEOC.  If you are discouraged from filing, then you may have another lawsuit.

If you are uncomfortable speaking to a co-worker you can contact an EEOC counselor.

Your employer has violated your rights if they retaliate against you for filing.

Do we expect  favoritism at work?

I hope this article helps someone and informs you that you have rights even at work.