Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Stone-Wal-Mart

Last year’'s expansion of marriage to same-sex couples is trickling into the benefits bucket. Wal-Mart is kind of adapting. In its January 26, 2005, SEC filing, it redefined immediate family for employees in its conflict-of-interest section. This definition now reads that:
...Immediate family members include (whether by birth, adoption, marriage or Domestic Partnership or Civil Union, if recognized by your state or other local law) your spouse, children, parents, siblings, mothers and fathers-in-law, sons and daughters-in-law and brothers and sisters-in-law...
The nation'’s largest employer does not say that because these fall under the you-can’'t-do-any-of-this rules that they'’ll be included in benefits. However, it seems headed in that direction.

A report on the matter in Bay Windows newspaper suggests that this may become company policy. “"I’'m cautiously optimistic that the policy will apply to benefits in some states,"” it quotes Daryl Herrshchaft, deputy director of the Human Rights Campaign, as saying. Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogelman commented that the company insures Massachusetts employees under HMOs. It is bound by state law, including covering same-sex spouses.

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