One of the more recent issues that has arisen in Minneapolis in relation to discrimination has been the treatment of same-sex couples. With same-sex marriage having only become widely legalized within the last 5-10 years, many may be finding that their workplace policies do not reflect the standards of the time. Another matter to be considered in this regard is that while public agencies and organizations may be mandated to update their policies to reflect current legislation, private corporations may not be legally required to do so.
Such was the case with Walmart, which until 2014 did not offer healthcare benefits to same-sex spouses. That policy was recently brought to light in a lawsuit filed by an employee who had been trying to secure benefits for her spouse since 2008. The company’s change of policy did little to help her deal with the over $150,000 in medical expenses she had accrued from the treatment of her wife’s ovarian cancer. The result of her lawsuit, however, will change that. As part of the settlement agreement, Walmart has agreed to set aside $7.5 million to reimburse employees for the medical costs incurred by their spouses from January or 2011 to December of 2013. The will also pay 250 percent towards out-of-pocket expenses in excess of $60,000 to employees who submit documentation on behalf of their spouses. The company estimates the group affected by the change may include as many as 1,100 people.
In cases involving alleged discrimination, those fighting for their rights may also inadvertently be representing countless others, as well. The chance of making a successful argument in such a case may be greatly augmented if one has an experienced attorney on his or her side.
Source: The New York Times “Walmart Settles Discrimination Suit Over Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses” Dec. 02, 2016