Vincy Workplace
February 10, 2006

Preferential treatment a problem in the workplace

Regardless of who you are or what position you hold, you have probably benefited at some point from preferential treatment.

Favoritism or preferential treatment is common in many workplaces but it can be problematic when it’s applied in a manner that is blatantly unfair or discriminatory.

Business leaders need to be conscious of the impact of favoritism and how it can negatively affect the morale of all involved.{{more}}

Acts of favoritism that seem harmless can sometimes alter productivity and create tension to change the dynamics of any workplace.

Employees often complain about over the top favoritism being shown in the areas of promotion process, hiring and firing, and finally choice assignments.


Whenever a position opens, the hiring manager needs to consider the demands of the position, and then look at the current staff to see who is best qualified. The promotion decision should not be based on who you are best friends with, family ties or people to whom you are attracted.

Denying someone the position because you do not like or do not get along with that individual is unacceptable. Decisions should be based on qualifications, performance history and the ability to meet the expectations of the position.

Hiring and Firing

Careful consideration should be given before hiring or firing an employee. During the hiring process, the potential candidate should be evaluated fairly, not on any personal biases against or in favor of that person. The same criteria should be used in firing.

What are the grounds for firing? Is it a personal issue or performance related? Try to be objective or bring in a neutral party to help make these decisions.

Choice assignments

In every job there are some assignments that are more desirable than others. Whether it involves travel, taking a break from the worst task in the company, or taking time off, managers need to devise a fair system so everyone can enjoy these advantages.

Problems arise when the same people are allowed to take advantage of the system because they always have an excuse or special circumstances that allow them to get more than other employees.

Favoritism should not be confused with kindness or courtesy and some employees know the difference.

• Karen Hinds works with companies and professionals to develop their competitive edge through effective communications, image management and customer service. Send comments and suggestions to