Employee Benefits No Longer Exclude Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses
MORGANTOWN, W.V. -- Mon General Hospital has agreed to conciliate a charge of sex discrimination filed by its employee, Kathy McIntire, alleging that she was denied spousal medical benefits for the sole reason that she is a female married to another female, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
At the time, McIntire was seeking spousal coverage for her wife while working in the Morgantown, W.V., medical facility, but Mon General's policy provided for spousal medical coverage only to opposite-sex spouses. As a result, McIntire and her wife sustained losses when they had to pay for medical care and services that would have been covered had McIntire's wife been eligible for consideration as a beneficiary under Mon General's benefits policy.
Prior to conciliation, EEOC found that a violation had occurred, and that Mon General's conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits any discrimination that occurs on the basis of sex. The parties were able to reach a voluntary settlement through EEOC's conciliation process.
In addition to $8,900 in monetary relief to McIntire, the conciliation agreement, which will be in effect for one year, requires Mon General to affirm and communicate to its employees that it has eliminated its former policy and instituted a new policy that includes making same-sex spouses eligible for employer-sponsored benefits. Mon General will also provide a report semi-annually to EEOC regarding any employees who have requested employer-sponsored benefits for their same sex spouse, and whether or not such requests were granted.
"No one should be denied access to medical benefits simply because of who they are or whom they love," said EEOC Chair Jenny Yang. "EEOC will continue to advance opportunity for all and protect the rights of workers to be free from discrimination, as our civil rights laws require."
Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., the district director of EEOC's Philadelphia District, said, "EEOC is committed to ensuring that individuals are not discriminated against in workplaces because of their sexual orientation."
Roosevelt Bryant, area director of EEOC's Pittsburgh Area Office, which conducted the investigation and negotiated the resolution, said, "We are pleased that Mon General Hospital was willing to work with EEOC to address and remedy this issue of sex discrimination. By reaching this agreement, the company is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring that all of its employees will enjoy benefits that do not exclude coverage to individuals based on their sexual orientation."
The Philadelphia District Office of EEOC has offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland and oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The Pittsburgh Area Office oversees Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.