Benefit Changes Regarding LGBT Employees

There have been a number of recent rulings regarding same-sex marriage and other LGBT concerns. Below is a brief summary of the important changes that businesses need to be aware of.*

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) now permits a person to take FMLA leave to care for his or her same-sex spouse with a serious health condition, take qualifying exigency leave due to his or her same-sex spouse’s covered military service, or take military caregivers leave for his or her same-sex spouse.

Non-grandfathered health plans cannot limit sex-specific recommended preventive services (which are required to be covered without cost sharing) based on an individual’s sex assigned at birth, gender identity, or recorded gender. Whether or not the sex-specific preventative service is medically appropriate for the patient is decided by the individual’s provider.

The EEOC has ruled that Title VII (which requires that employers not discriminate in employment or benefits based on sex) does include discriminations based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or transgender status. Employers should update their anti-discrimination policies to ensure that they include LGBT employees.

The Supreme Court historically ruled that same-sex spouses and marriages will be recognized for all federal purposes, not limited to FMLA, but also COBRA and HIPPA. The Court also ruled that the Fourteenth amendment requires all states to license a marriage between any two adults, and to recognize same-sex marriages lawfully performed in other states. This may affect employee benefits for same-sex spouses and taxation.

*This is not a substitute for legal advice and should not be used as such. Do not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.