Pride Agenda, HRC Applaud Barclays' New Policy to Reimburse &quotSame-Sex Couples Tax&quot on Health

by HRC Staff

Employees to be compensated by financial leader for discriminatory federal taxes on same-sex partner health benefits

New York - Empire State Pride Agenda and the Human Rights Campaign - two organizations that advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees - today praised major global financial services provider Barclays for its announcement that all United States-based employees who opt to cover their same-sex domestic partners under the firm's medical, dental or vision plans will be eligible for reimbursement to offset the additional US federal tax liability incurred by receiving the same-sex domestic partner benefits.

"Just as an increasing number of Americans support fairness and equality for their LGBT family, friends, neighbors and colleagues, more and more companies are taking steps to ensure that they treat their LGBT employees fairly," said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Ross D. Levi. "Same-sex couples are significantly disadvantaged under federal tax law, and I applaud Barclays for addressing one aspect of this inequality. As the private sector leads the way with more and more companies updating their policies to make up for these discriminatory taxes, Pride Agenda feels it sends a strong message to state and federal government that marriage equality is long overdue."

Other companies - including Google, Cisco Systems, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and law firm Morrison & Foerster - have also been following this trend. The policy rollout from Barclays, a leader in the financial sector, could cause other institutions to take a look at their internal policies.

Levi noted that Pride Agenda's Pride in my Workplace Program, launched in 2003, has a range of initiatives aimed at encouraging workplaces and employers in New York State to be free of discrimination and affirm the presence and contributions of LGBT employees. A Pride in my Workplace Best Practices Guide was published last year, and recommends a policy similar to the one put in place at Barclays.

"Barclays is distinguishing itself as an employer of choice for the LGBT community by picking up the slack where federal law ignores the diversity of today's work force," said Daryl Herrschaft, director of HRC's Workplace Project. "Barclays' work with HRC to achieve 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index highlights what many fair-minded employers already know: equality is good for business."

"Corporations, financial institutions and other employers know the importance of recruiting top quality employees and having policies and practices that nurture all staff members and help them to be productive in their jobs," Levi added. "When a company such as Barclays institutes a policy or practice that supports LGBT employees, it is good for those employees and good for business as well."

Founded in 1990, the Empire State Pride Agenda is New York's statewide civil rights and advocacy organization committed to achieving equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers and our families. In addition to our work building coalitions, mobilizing allies and organizing and empowering the LGBT community, the Pride Agenda engages in legislative and governmental lobbying and administers a Political Action Committee registered with New York State.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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