Revising Employee Benefits in Light of Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

Posted October 01, 2015 by

Employers should avoid discriminating against LGBT candidates and employees in same-sex relationships. The Supreme Court ruling in June of 2015 recognizes same-sex marriages across the United States and grants benefits that opposite-sex married couples receive. As a result of the ruling, employers must review their policies concerning employee benefits.

To help explore these issues, College Recruiter recently hosted a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29, at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco.

College Recruiter has been publishing the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. Beth Zoller, Legal Editor for XpertHR, explains how the Supreme Court ruling affects employee benefits of same-sex married couples.

beth p. zoller

Beth Zoller, Legal Editor at XpertHR

“If an employer discovers that one of their candidates for employment is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, an employer should consider the following:

If an employer learns that a candidate or employee is in a same-sex relationship, the employer should proceed cautiously and make sure to avoid discrimination against such individual. In June of 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution requires all states to license same-sex marriages and to recognize such marriages when they were lawfully licensed and performed out of state. This historic ruling clears the way for same-sex marriages nationwide by declaring that same-sex married couples can no longer be denied the benefits provided to opposite-sex married couples.

Based on the Court’s ruling, married same-sex couples residing in states where same-sex marriage was legal became eligible for the same benefits and protections as opposite-sex spouses under virtually all federal laws. In light of this landmark development, an employer should revisit its policies and practices regarding Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and discrimination, employee benefits, leave policies, family and medical leave, marriage status, and tax information.”

Bio: Beth P. Zoller is the legal editor for the discrimination, affirmative action, harassment, retaliation, employee privacy, and employee handbooks/work rules/employee conduct content in the employee management section of XpertHR. Prior to joining XpertHR, Beth practiced law for more than 10 years representing employers with respect to employment discrimination and harassment claims, contractual disputes, restrictive covenant issues, family and medical leave, wage and hour disputes and a variety of other employment-related claims.

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