Now that “domestic partnerships” are, more or less, a thing
of the past due to the United States Supreme Court’s historic ruling
that legalized same-sex marriages nationwide, employment law is going
through some shifts to adjust to the changes. Most notably, there really
are no male and female spouses in the eyes of the law, anymore; that is
to say, you are just spouse one or spouse two. This means that employers
who offer spousal health insurance benefits will need to provide them to
all married employees, regardless of whether they are in a traditional marriage
or a same-sex marriage.
Companies that are self-insured, meaning they assume any insurance risks
for their own employees, can actually pick and choose who gets what benefits.
This is due to the fact that they will be spending their own money to
cover matters of insurance. If an employer really did want to exclude
a same-sex spouse from getting insurance benefits, they could switch to
a self-insured program and not opt them into it.
Is This Change Going to Bankrupt Employers?
While it is true that there are more eligible married couples now, that
will not necessarily cost businesses more in the end. Companies that provided
coverage for same-sex domestic partnerships are actually likely to be spending
less money now to cover same-sex marriage couples due to changes in tax law.
Additionally, now that there is a blanket term for being married or not,
there is less paperwork and payroll taxes for employers to deal with.
This could ultimately save them trouble and time, which, as we have all
heard, is money.
Sounds Like Overall Good News for Same-Sex Couples… Right?
Looking at the ruling and the
employment law changes it has actually brought about, LGBTQ activists surely see this
as a victory for their cause and community. Taking a step back and considering
the bigger picture, however, tells of further controversies and conflicts
that might quickly be rising on the horizon. More than half of the states
in America, including Texas, do
not provide legal protection against workplace and employment discrimination
that targets people based on their sexual orientation.
Although there are no laws in place that explicitly protect same-sex couples
and members of the LGBTQ community from on-the-job discrimination, such
as firings or wage cuts, in Texas, that does not mean that a case cannot
be made that pursues justice for mistreated individuals.
713.581.9001 to set up your
free initial consultation if you need legal assistance with a discrimination case.