Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is It Or Isn't It ... Marital Status Discrimination

It's amazing what labor attorneys will talk about over a few beers. Recently, the issue came up as to whether an unmarried employee, receiving health benefits under a "single-person" plan, is entitled to a monetary differential equal to the difference between the cost of that benefit and the cost of a "family" plan provided to a married co-worker. The argument goes that since the employer pays more for the family health plan, the married employee receives more "value" in terms of a benefit based on a personal choice than an unmarried employee with no dependents. Is this discrimination based on marital status? If a monetary differential were paid to the unmarried employee, would there be parity between the parties since a health benefit is non-taxable to the worker while direct payment of a monetary differential is subject to taxation?

And, then, there is a most critical question ... why are attorneys discussing such things over beers when a baseball game is on the big screen tv?

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