HR Management··6 min read

What Is Favoritism At Work + 10 Ways to Identify It

10 Signs Of Favoritism at Work & How To Deal With Them

If some of your employees get special treatment in the workplace, this is a classic example of workplace favoritism. These employees can get lighter workloads, better work hours, better salaries... Which hurts everyone in your business and ruins the professional relationship between managers and employees.

Today, we’re re going to show you what favoritism is, highlight some examples of favoritism and explain why this unfair treatment can have far-reaching consequences and in some cases, even lead to legal action.

What is favoritism in the workplace?

Favoritism is a type of discrimination where one person is given preferential treatment over another. It can be really frustrating when you're unaware of what is favoritism at work. This can lead to the feeling that you can't do things right.

But there are ways to deal with favoritism at work, and you don't have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.

How to identify favoritism at work?

Here's how to do this:

  • Observe whether employees are given preferential treatment in terms of assignments, rewards, or recognition.
  • Check in with other employees to see if they have any complaints. One way to do this is to discuss your concerns about the company's leave management system with other employees.
  • Ask the employee who is being favored what their reason is for wanting the favor. Unfair favoritism is common and unfortunately, it's a part of human nature.
  • Be careful not to stereotype or judgmentally assess the employee in question. Otherwise, you could contribute to creating a toxic work environment.

The impact of favoritism on employees in the workplace

Favoritism in the workplace can have negative consequences on employees.

  • It leads to feelings of resentment that can lead to decreased productivity and a decrease in job satisfaction, as well as job performance.
  • It results in conflicts between employees, which can damage the workplace environment.
  • It cultivates feelings of resentment that can decrease productivity and job satisfaction.

It is important for employers to be aware of the potential impact that favoritism can have on their employees. Employers should ensure that their policies do not favor one employee over another and that all employees are treated fairly. Here is a great article about how to prevent workplace discrimination.

Ten signs there is favoritism in your workplace


Here are 10 signs that favoritism is occurring and some tips on how to deal with them.

Employees are left out of key decisions.

If you feel like one or more employees are left out of key decisions, it could be an indication that they are being treated unfairly and perhaps even prevented from career advancement.

They should talk to a supervisor or the person who is making the decisions to see if there is a reason why they are being left out. It could be that they are unaware of the employee's interest in the decision-making process.

Instead of feeling left out, employees should try to get more involved. This will help them feel more a part of the team and ultimately make them more effective. Moreover, it will ensure proper career growth too.

Employees are blamed for mistakes.

When an employee is constantly being blamed for mistakes, it may be an indication that they are being made the scapegoat. This can leave a sense of favoritism, especially if the employee genuinely does not have poor performance.

Instead of taking the blame, the employee should try to identify the root cause of the problem and work to fix it. This will help them take ownership of their mistakes and help them work towards being more effective. It's also a superb way to find new opportunities for growth.

Employees are always the ones being put on the spot.

Do some employees feel pressurized? They should take some time off to relax. This will help them avoid making hurried decisions that could lead to mistakes.

Employees should try to build good relationships with their co-workers. This will make it easier to communicate with them and to feel like part of a team. Remember that there may be others who feel this way. By getting together, employees can build stronger personal relationships and grow beyond the office politics.

Employees are being blamed for something that was really someone else's fault

When this happens, get more information to help you identify the problem. The best thing to do is to speak to someone from the management team about it.

If they agree that it wasn't the employee's fault, then they can help resolve the issue with the other employees involved. However, if they feel that the employee was at fault, then that person will need to accept responsibility and apologize to the other employees involved.

Either way, it is important to stay calm and professional when dealing with this situation. Leading communication with emotion is a sign of poor management and will create an even more unhealthy work environment.

The employee is being left out of opportunities

The employee may feel like they are not being given the same chances as others or that they are being passed over for promotions and raises.

Instead of feeling left out, the employee should get more involved in the company's networking opportunities. This will help them build relationships with key decision-makers and ultimately make them more effective.

It's also important for the employee to stay positive and focused on their own career goals. They should not let favoritism get you down. Instead, they should use this to motivate them at work even further, to pursue new growth opportunities.

The employee is always the one being given difficult tasks

They should not be overwhelmed. The employee should try to break the task down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This will help them stay focused on the task at hand. If they need help, they can ask senior management for constructive feedback.

The employee feels like they are always the one being left out of conversations

Identify signs of favoritism at work. Tell the employees to get more involved in the company's networking opportunities and build relationships with key decision-makers. This would naturally increase the chances of them being successful at work. It will also reveal more advancement opportunities for them.

The employee is being left out of important emails.

When an employee is always left out of important emails, it's time to retrospect and think of these warning signals. The employee should try to get more involved in the company's communication channels. This will help them stay up to date on important news and developments and ultimately keep them more involved in the loop.

The employee is always the one being singled out for criticism

This may be an indication that they need to reflect on your actions and see if there's anything that they could have done differently. They can learn from their mistakes and avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future.

The employee is unsure about what is expected from them

Employees must learn how to overcome favoritism at work. They should learn to be more assertive and ask their superiors about their expectations for their work. This way, everyone knows what's expected of them and there's no ambiguity or room for misinterpretation.

It is important to identify the signs of favoritism and take action to resolve the issue. By recognizing the signs and taking action, you can ensure a positive working environment for all.

Employers must give employees the opportunity to express their concerns and grievances. Dealing with favoritism at work will help ensure that employees feel valued and respected, and they'll likely be more productive as a result.

Wrapping up

Favoritism in the workplace is unhealthy and can have severe consequences. Picking out your favorite employees can lead to illegal discrimination and a lawsuit for your business. But by that point, you'll face the other consequences of favoritism: a toxic workplace, reduced employee performance, and employees leaving you in droves.

And to improve your workplace for everyone, try introducing proper time management in the office. With Unrubble, you can track your employees' time and absences, create timesheets, manage payroll, and much more.

Get started today for free!

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