Discrimination and the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2019 | Firm News

Discrimination of any kind is not something society takes lightly. Using a person’s skin color, age, sexual preference or religion as a reason to treat them different from others is not all right, especially in the workplace. There are many laws in place, both federally and in Pennsylvania, to ensure workers have protection against such discrimination in the course of their employment 

Most recently, there has been a lot of talk about sexual preference discrimination in the workplace. The landmark case, Obergefell v. Hodges, made same-sex marriage legal across the country, according to the National Review. In doing so, it also solidified the rights of the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to employment benefits.  

Everyone treated equally 

While there are plenty of employment laws that guarantee each worker gets equal and fair treatment, the Obergefell ruling added a new aspect. Since this case legalized the right of same-sex couples to marry, it also adjusted existing employment laws to ensure employers treat same-sex couples in the exact same way they treat heterosexual couples. Basically, this means that if an employer offers family coverage, including coverage for a spouse, then it must do so regardless of the sexual orientation of the couple.  

No exceptions 

In addition, discrimination for being in a same-sex marriage when it comes to benefits is not protected under the typical exceptions. For example, a religious organization may refuse to hire an LGBTQ+ individual citing religious reasons, but once hired, it would not be a valid excuse to deny that person and his or her spouse employment benefits.  

The Obergefell ruling made great strides in our country’s social fabric. It also extended rights to a group that has long been the target of discrimination in one form or another, offering further protections when an LGBTQ+ family wants to receive employment benefits just as a heterosexual family would