W. Va. Hospital Changes Same-Sex Benefit Policy Under Agreement Settling EEOC Sex Bias Charge

No longer will employees at a Morgantown, West Virginia hospital be denied benefits because they are in same-sex marriages.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today that Mon General Hospital located in Morgantown will pay $8,900 and change its policy on same-sex spousal benefits. The terms were agreed to by the hospital and the EEOC in an agreement settling a charge of sex discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The EEOC filed the charge on behalf of hospital employee Kathy McIntire, alleging that she was denied spousal medical benefits for the sole reason that she is a female married to another female.

At the time, McIntire was seeking spousal coverage for her wife while working in the Morgantown, W.V., medical facility, but Mon General’s policy provided for spousal medical coverage only to opposite-sex spouses. As a result, McIntire and her wife sustained losses when they had to pay for medical care and services that would have been covered had McIntire’s wife been eligible for consideration as a beneficiary under Mon General’s benefits policy.

Under the agreement, which will be in effect for one year, Mon General must affirm and communicate to its employees that it has eliminated its former policy and instituted a new policy that includes making same-sex spouses eligible for employer-sponsored benefits. Mon General will also provide a report semi-annually to EEOC regarding any employees who have requested employer-sponsored benefits for their same sex spouse, and whether or not such requests were granted.

No one should be denied access to medical benefits simply because of who they are or whom they love,” said EEOC Chair Jenny Yang. “EEOC will continue to advance opportunity for all and protect the rights of workers to be free from discrimination, as our civil rights laws require.”

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