Have you ever been in a situation where one co-worker just seems to get away with everything? They get to come in later than everyone else, have longer breaks, and get more flexible deadlines while you’re expected to follow company policies.


“Favouritism fosters bad feelings amongst colleagues and oftentimes places a cloud over an entire department,” says career specialist Teena Rose. “It wears away at morale, causes good employees to quit prematurely, and comes in many forms so there are usually many ‘victims.’”


If you suspect favouritism in your office the first thing to do is to determine whether or not it’s actually happening or if it’s all in your head. Maybe there are circumstances about the situation you’re not aware of.


“There are several ways to ascertain whether or not favouritism is occurring, but none of them are guaranteed to be the magic key that says the boss is going to agree with the conclusions,” says Dan Bobinski, president of Leadership Development Inc. “The safest method is an objective one — documenting what you observe. Opinion can be contested. Provable dates, times, and places can’t.”


Rose suggests keeping your investigation low profile, especially if you’re asking other co-workers for information.

“Ask open-ended questions to those around you, minus your thoughts, feelings, and opinions. You don’t want to taint the answers.”

Once you’ve documented the incidences, then what?

Bobinski suggests addressing the supervisor in question in an objective, proactive manner. Prepare your facts.

Once you’re organized Bobinski suggests doing what he calls “carefrontation.” “Make it known that you care about your relationship with each person involved, and you also care about the company mission. Then present your findings in a calm, focused manner.”

Bobinski also suggests asking what the team could do to be more unified.

If the person who is receiving the favours has a personal relationship with the supervisor addressing the situation is more difficult.

“Just keep in mind this approach is a gamble,” says Bobinski. “The boss may agree and commit to changing things, the boss may say you’re imagining things but start making changes anyway, or the boss may say how he or she treats other people is none of your business. If the third possibility is what you receive, it might not be a bad idea to look for work elsewhere.”