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Gay Marriage and The Workplace

Gay Marriage and The WorkplaceGay Marriage is one of those things that has become really wide spread over the US in the past few years.  You are either one of those states that allows gay marriage or you are not.  States are always popping up on the news as far as same sex marriages go in 2015 won’t be any different.  In fact, at the start of 2015 on January 6th, Florida had become the 36th state to legalize same sex marriage.  WOW.  36 states?  Imagine that!  This is definitely not something you would have seen 5, 10 or 15 years ago.  But, with change comes both good and bad.  Just because same sex marriage is legal in 30 some states, doesn’t mean that everyone is “okay” with it or will make your work life easier because of it.  In fact, in some states, you may see a major up strike in people getting harassed at work because they are gay and or because they are involved in a same sex marriage.  There are things you should be aware of when it comes to Same Sex laws and Discrimination in the workplace especially when it comes to same sex marriages.  Be sure to continue reading below for employment law rules on FMLA, pensions, benefits, marital status discrimination and more.  If you have read this article and think that your employer has discriminated against you, you may want to contact an employment attorney in NJ for a consultation.

Family and Medical Leave Act

Family and medical leave is specifically put into place so that you may take a leave of absence to take care of your spouse.  This isn’t just for straight couples either, it’s for gay couples too as long as your employer you work at is large enough and you have been an employee for at least a years’ time.  If you have a partner who is sick and you are married, gay, straight or whatever else, you can take a family and medical leave.  Make sure that you have your general doctor sign any FMLA forms that need signed so if the time comes where you need to put in for a leave you will be able to.

Pension Laws

Yes, your same sex spouse CAN be added to you pension.  However, you will have to gather up the forms and update the pension to include your spouse.  Make sure on the forms that any and all benefit plans will include your spouses in your same sex marriage.  If not, then legally they cannot be placed on the pension, but this is less about sex or same sex and more about the law than anything else.

Benefits for Same Sex Marriages

As with the pension, your benefits will have to be updated with your spouse’s name.  Also, if you want to get your spouse on the same plan you are on, make sure you contact Human Resources as soon as possible to get them on the plan.  Better sooner than later and it might take some time to get them added.

Marital Status Discrimination

In some states it is NOT illegal for your employer to discriminate against you because of your sexual orientation.  If you live in a state where this is illegal, make sure you are aware of it and you know what to do.  The marital status discrimination act includes not only bosses and employees who don’t believe in gay marriage, but also brings against people that don’t like that they married a same sex partner.  If you work in a place where your boss, colleagues or other peers have started to treat you differently after you got married, you could possibly have a discrimination case.  If this is the case, make sure you speak to a lawyer about a consult to see if this is an issue or if you are just being overly sensitive and there is nothing to worry about.

Privileges

When it comes to a gay couple, a lawyer or legal partner can excuse one partner when it comes to client attorney meetings.  However, one of the best privileges when it comes to states that do recognize same sex marriages is that a partner IS allowed to be included when it comes to matters between attorney and client.  Of course this means you still need to give permission for something like this, but it is allowed nonetheless after permission is granted.

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