Dealing with Favoritism in the Workplace

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An unhealthy working environment can be a significant source of stress for employees, and It impacts individuals professionally as well as personally. Having strategies for dealing with an unhealthy working environment can help you feel empowered to improve your situation as an employee or the affected party.

Many employees are afraid of workplace favoritism. And there’s no denying that poor administration breeds favoritism. We explore why people in positions of leadership would show preference for certain employees over others. We examine the consequences of this, as well as how they affect you as the disadvantaged party. What options are available for dealing with workplace favoritism?

Employees have the right to expect to be treated fairly. Favouritism might make employees feel that they have been treated unfairly or that they have been discriminated against. Favouritism is not always prohibited, even if it is not the best practice. A manager’s favouritism towards an employee or a group of employees is not illegal. However, if the favouring is based on discrimination or violates anti-discrimination laws, the company could face legal action.

Let’s define Favoritism!

What is Favoritism in the workplace? Favoritism is a broad term that refers to the practice of favoring someone or a group of people in the workplace for reasons other than their work performance. Favoritism occurs when an individual or a group of employees is treated differently based on personal characteristics. Employees are aware of managers who may be favoring certain members of their staff, whether this is true or not, subtle, or overt.

Here are some examples of workplace favoritism to assist you assess if this type of behavior is present in your workplace; they are not exhaustive, but they will give you an idea.

  • Managers spend more time interacting with particular employees casually joking and having non- work -related conversations.
  • Superior spends more time conversing about work-related matters with certain employees such as assignments, plans.
  • Overlooking certain employees’ mistakes- but allows it to pass or uses their formal power to cover up the blunders of some staff members.
  • Managers giving more praise to one employee for work accomplishments over others – If someone in a leadership role only acknowledges the efforts of one employee when a task was equally shared by several other employees, this could be is an example of favoritism.
  • Certain employees are given preferential treatment -Helps some employees advance in their careers but not others.
  • Presenting gifts to other employees- Unless it’s an employee’s birthday or they won a contest, presenting gifts to one employee over another is an example of favouritism.
  • Promotions and opportunities -If a qualified, hard-working employee gets overlooked for a promotion by someone with the company for significantly less time, this may be favouritism.

Favoritism has a number of consequences in the workplace. These are some of the potential drawbacks of this behaviour:

  • Favouritism of one “star” employee can affect employee morale because other high performing employees will see that their peer is enjoying special privileges while their own hard work goes unappreciated and uncompensated.
  • Favouritism can lead to legal action in extreme situations, which can have long-term consequences for a company’s hiring efforts and its reputation in both the industry and the public eye.
  • Feelings of resentment may increase– Even if your coworker hasn’t done anything wrong, seeing your manager show favouritism toward one of your colleagues may make you bitter towards both your management and your teammate.
  • Loss of faith in the company’s leadership – You may lose respect for someone in a leadership position if they overtly prefer one employee above all others, and you may be less eager to obey their orders.
  • Inability to progress within the firm – When managers favours one person, this may cause you to miss out on prospective career progression possibilities.
  • Reduced motivation and productivity – You may lose interest in your career because it is frustrating when your hard work and dedication to your organization go unnoticed while a teammate receives recognition or special benefits for what you consider to be less effort.

How Can Favoritism in the Workplace Be Prevented?

  • Create a professional atmosphere, favoritism is a highly unethical behaviour you need to create a work environment that rewards professionalism and high performance.
  • Draw up a company policy on favoritism and disseminate it to all the employees -This will also communicate to your employees that you are serious about the problem.
  • Provide personnel with training -such training can teach employees about the dangers of favoritism, such as low morale, potential overlooking, and a negative culture.
  • All employees should be treated equally and with the respect they deserve.

How to address favoritism in the workplace.

  • Evaluate whether it’s actually favoritism- Take the time to assess your work ethic and performance details in relation to the preferred employee; it’s possible that other things, such as having innovative ideas, always being enthusiastic, or always looking for ways to enhance, are at play.
  • If you’re concerned that you’re being passed over for promotions, speak with your manager and inquire about your company’s advancement opportunities.
  • Refrain from venting to other employees- This may cause you to seem unprofessional, and places you and your coworkers in an awkward position.
  • Give credit to your coworkers- if you are the benefactor of a manager’s favour, ensure that your colleagues feel valued by applauding them during company meetings for helping you with a task.


Favoritism at work can damage employees’ faith in their leadership or colleagues, create resentment, cause tensions, and disrupt teamwork. Some studies have suggested that favoritism can dampen employee engagement and increase the risk of burnout by a significant percentage. This asserts what has already been stated: favoritism is harmful and unhealthy Fortunately, if leaders and employees are aware of the signs of favoritism, they can hold each other accountable for putting an end to it.


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