• BNSF sued for denying benefits to legally married spouses

  • Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM
Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM

Moderator: Komachi

  by MEC407
From The Kansas City Star:
The Kansas City Star wrote:SEATTLE — Two workers sued one of the nation's largest rail companies Tuesday, saying their same-sex spouses have repeatedly been denied health benefits even though voters in Washington state legalized gay marriage last year.

The lawsuit against BNSF Railway, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, alleges the company refused to add the spouses of locomotive engineer Michael Hall, of Pierce County, and conductor Amie Garrand, of Vancouver, to their plans.
. . .
Hall and Garrand both said they made repeated requests over several months, only to be met with denials and, in Hall's case, an intimidating phone call from a supervisor.

"BNSF has no business overriding the vote we had here to make same sex marriage legal," Cleveland Stockmeyer, a lawyer for the couples, said in a news release. "Who are they to judge? BNSF should stick to running railroads and stop telling gays or lesbian couples who are legally married that they are not."
Read the rest of the article at: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/12/03/46 ... -over.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Backshophoss
Seems like the lawsuit did the trick,tonight on the late(10pm)local news,it was announced that the same sex spouses
will be covered as of Jan 1,2014,all the major RR's are included(BNSF,UP,NS,CSX,KCS)
http://www.kob.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ,click on the 10pm newscast for 12/04/2013.
  by MEC407
Thanks for the update, Backshophoss!

Quote from the KOB story:
KOB wrote:A day after being sued by legally married, gay engineers, the nation’s largest freight rail carriers announced they will provide health care benefits to the same-sex spouses of their employees.
. . .
Same-sex spouses will be eligible for dependent health care coverage starting Jan. 1, the statement said. "While this it is not a benefit required by law or under current collective bargaining agreements, the railroads agreed with labor to provide the benefit in light of recent changes allowing same sex couples to access same federal tax benefits provided to other married couples," the conference said.
. . .
A lawyer for the couples, Cleveland Stockmeyer, disagreed with the conference’s statement that benefits for same-sex spouses aren’t required by law or by collective bargaining. The company’s health plan describes eligible dependents as "your husband or wife," without excluding same-sex spouses, he argued.

Stockmeyer said the railroads’ decision is a good first step but would only partially resolve the lawsuit. The couples still need to be compensated for the financial and emotional drain of spending months without the benefits as they fought BNSF to have the spouses added, he said.
Read the rest of the story at: http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S323 ... qCyfI12PLY" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;