Post submitted by Beck Bailey, HRC Deputy Director of Employee Engagement

Earlier this week, Frank Bernard, a former trainee manager at Little Caesars Pizza in California, sued the company for discrimination. Bernard maintains that the Detroit-based chain’s policy of denying employees health insurance benefits for their legally wed same-sex spouses is discriminatory and we agree. In California, where Bernard lives and works, his relationship is legally recognized by both state and federal law therefore he should be eligible for the same benefits as any other legally married couple.

Even beyond the legal requirements, many employers extend equal benefits to same-sex married couples and domestic partnerships as they do to opposite-sex ones. HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) includes criteria to rate an employer’s practices for parity across all benefits for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and our families. CEI participant Pizza Hut, a Little Caesars competitor owned by parent Yum! Brands Inc., scored an 80 on the 2014 survey and offers health insurance coverage to same-sex spouses and partners of its employees.

Fair-minded employers know that inclusive policies and practices are not only the right thing to do; they are also the best business decision.  Besides competing for the best talent in recruiting, employee turnover costs are significant and amount to an average of 20% of salary for workers making less than $75,000 per year according to a 2012 study by the Center for American Progress. In this case, Bernard resigned rather than continue to work for an employer with discriminatory practices, increasing Little Caesars’ replacement costs in addition to the costs of this suit.

Want to know more about the policies and practices of the brands you know and love? Use HRC’s handy “Buying for Workplace Equality” guide or download the app for iPhones and Androids for reference on the go.

Filed under: Workplace, Community

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