Who is a “Similarly Situated Employee?”

Employment discrimination occurs when an employee or a job applicant is treated unequally or unfairly because of their protected characteristics. Employment discrimination is illegal in the United States of America. Laws are in place that prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on their protected characteristics. Protected characteristics include race, age, gender, sex, religion, disability, and national origin.

If you are an employee going through a discrimination case, you may encounter several terms and phrases you don’t understand. One phrase you may come across is “similarly situated employee.” 

Who is a “Similarly Situated Worker”?

In an employment discrimination case, you must present evidence that you were treated less favorably than a similarly situated employee who is outside your protected class. Simply put, this is a worker who is comparable to you in all relevant aspects. Such an employee is necessary to determine whether you were a victim of discrimination. This employee is a point of comparison to assess the validity of your discrimination case.

Factors That Determine Who Counts as a Similarly Situated Employee

Several factors must be considered when determining which employee qualifies as a similarly situated employee. The following are some of these factors;

Job Responsibilities and Duties

First, this worker must be someone with the same job responsibilities, duties, and roles as the claimant. You cannot form a fair comparison if the employees have different job responsibilities, roles, and duties.

Experience and Qualifications

Second, the employee must have the same qualifications and experience as the claimant. If the employees have different experiences, qualifications, and skills, it can excuse discrimination. For the comparison to be fair, both employees must possess the same experience and qualifications. 


For example, if the claimant is a high-performing employee, the other worker should also be a high-performing employee. If two workers from different groups who perform the same are treated differently, it might indicate discrimination. 

Training and Education

Training and education may also be crucial when determining who qualifies as a similarly situated employee. Comparing employees who have attained the same level of education and undergone similar training can help determine if discrimination occurred.

Treatment Under the Same Conditions

It is necessary to compare employees who have faced the same opportunities, challenges, or incidents. In an employment discrimination case, you need to demonstrate that two workers in the same situation but who don’t belong to the same protected class received different treatment under the same conditions.

It is crucial to keep in mind that who is considered a similarly situated worker can differ based on the state and the specifics of each case. But usually, the goal is to identify an employee whose situation is comparable to the plaintiff’s.

Contact a Skilled NJ Employment Lawyer for Legal Help

If you are dealing with an employment discrimination case, our skilled employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm is here for you. Ms. Trabosh is committed to fighting for your rights. Ms. Trabosh is here to advocate aggressively on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us work together to seek the justice and compensation you deserve. 

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