Discrimination in the workplace is never okay. There are plenty of laws at the federal and state levels that offer protections to certain groups of people. Sometimes discrimination is blatant and obvious, but other times it is subtle. It can be difficult to know if something is discrimination or not without all the facts or knowing about the situation in detail. However, every employer in New York should strive to create a workplace free from any type of discrimination.
While there are several things you can do to avoid any issues with discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains the one thing you can do to really keep things on track is to always treat every employee equally. It is fine to offer perks to employees who earn it or have different policies for management than employees, but you should never offer special treatment to one person that you do not offer to another who works in the same position.
This can be confusing. An example would be offering management the ability to leave early on Fridays, but making employees stay the whole day. This is fine because you are treating all managers the same and all employees the same. As long as the treatment of personnel at the same level is equal, then you are fine.
An example of discrimination would be allowing one employee to have the day off for a family emergency but not allowing another employee. In this case, there is a difference in how you treated the employees, which could be seen as discrimination. This information does not constitute legal advice. It is for education only.