The workplace is an environment where favouritism can build.  The real question is, is it legal to promote someone based on favouritism? The Employment Lawyers at Whitten and Lublin explain this topic in a deeper context based on Human Rights Laws.

Question:

My question is about favouritism.  If I’m passed over for a promotion and I believe the process was unfair and biased, what legal options or remedies do I have?

Answer:

Favouritism is not illegal.  A company can pick favourites and decide who to promote based on bias and not merit.  But there is one exception.  Its decision can be challenged if it was made based on illegal discrimination, such as age, race, religion, gender and disability.  If you were not promoted because your boss does not like you, there is nothing you can do.  But if that decision was made because your boss wanted a male in the role, for example, you could challenge it under human rights laws.  The key is proving the decision was linked to an illegal form of discrimination.  Although that is not always easy, if you have some evidence suggesting there was a personal bias due to a prohibited ground of discrimination, the legal onus shifts to an employer to demonstrate that its decision was not illegal.