In January, 2004 UPS extended benefits to some same-sex partners. A UPS spokesman said that UPS did it because 'it was the right thing to do'. So why did UPS only extend this benefit to management?? In states like California, UPS is supposed to extend the benefits to all employees (eligible for healthcare) because of state law. In Colorado and some other states this benefit applies only to management.
Under the California Insurance Equality Act (A.B. 2208), all health, auto, rental, disability, life, and all other insurance plans regulated by the California Department of Insurance are prohibited from treating registered domestic partners and heterosexual spouses differently. Therefore, all covered policies and plans must provide identical coverage to registered domestic partners and heterosexual spouses. So, for example, unless your employer is self-insured, if your employer provides health benefits to the heterosexual spouses of its employees, it will also have to provide the same coverage to the registered domestic partners of its employees. The California Insurance Equality Act went into effect on January 2, 2005 for group health insurance plans and on January 1, 2005 for other types of insurance. For more information about the California Insurance Equality Act, see ab2208_faq_0904.htm. In addition, failure on the part of businesses or employers to provide equal benefits to domestic partners may constitute unlawful discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, sex, or marital status, depending on the circumstances.
Would It Cost UPS A Lot Of Money?
A Forbes.com article points out that the tax laws keep enrollment down. "If you add a domestic partner to your policy, you must pay income taxes on the portion of the premium for your partner that your employer pays"
A Gay Friendly Workplace?
Because of the supposed benefit change, the Human Rights Campaign (a gay/lesbian rights organization) raised the "Corporate Equality Index Score" of UPS from a 29 in 2003 to a 86 in 2004. HRC ranking of UPS.
AB 205 also adds "domestic partner" to the list of the employee's relatives for which an FMLA leave qualifies. Please note that California has an additional and separate "state FMLA" program, significantly superior to the federal FMLA regulations. We are allowed to choose the best provisions between the two, using "superior language" of either regulation to ensure maximum benefit. In addition to offering CFMLA to domestic partners, the California Family and Medical Leave Act provides for partial payment of wages through the Department of Unemployment (EDD). The first six weeks of leave taken under CFMLA are unpaid, but the second six weeks are paid at the same scale as unemployment benefits (for a full-time package driver in California, that would be just under $500 per week). And like the federal regs, the use of leave does not need to be continuous, and can be used periodically, as needed, to such an extent that it can even be used in one-hour intervals.
For example, there may be circumstances that would require an employee to finish work each day an hour early to attend to a sick, qualified relative. The employer is required, in most instances, to comply and provide accomodation. In this example, the FMLA formula requires eight days of one-hour-FMLA before an employer can charge the employee with one actual full-day of leave. This situation demonstrates how the 12 weeks of FMLA can be accrued at one hour increments.
Calfornia Family and Medical Leave pays benefits to care for a qualified domestic partner through the Unemployment Department. The check comes from their Disability Fund Division, which means a California UPS package driver will actually take home $680 per week, non-taxable, rather than $500 per week, taxable, as through general unemployment. Another nifty provision is the last one on the page which mandates parents (including domestic partners with children) be given time off by their employer to attend activities at their childrens school. How many drivers have missed school plays, parent teacher conferences, or graduations because management would not allow time off?
UPS extended same sex domestic partner benefits to retirees in 2005.
UPS Liable for Sexual Harassment Because
Supervisors Failed to Report Observed Incidents
"Clark and Knoop both worked at UPS for several years and lodged similar allegations against supervisor Brock. Brock’s alleged harassing conduct included inappropriate sexual questions, jokes, and remarks; inappropriate gestures made toward his own body and the bodies of women; the display of sexual pictures; and generally pervasive sexual innuendo. Both Clark and Knoop, especially the former, testified that some of these incidents occurred in front of other UPS supervisors." The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that UPS was "vicariously liable" for the supervisor's behavior. The court determined that employer's responcibility doesn't end merely because it has a sexual harassment policy. Employers must try to prevent and correct sexual harrassing conduct. The court also stated that an effective policy should require supervisors to report harassing incidents. The court rejected UPS's defense because the sexually harassment actions happened in the presence of supervisors and there was no employment action taken. ARTICLE. ADDED 8/25/05
NY Woman Files Harassment Suit
(Copyright 2005, The New York Post. All Rights Reserved)
A former United Parcel Service worker says the shipping company brought her nothing but humiliation - failing to step in as her male co-workers touched her, whistled at her and bombarded her with crude remarks.
In a lawsuit filed last week in Queens Supreme Court, Raquel Battle, 30, says colleagues rubbed their pelvises against her, kissed her neck and even followed her to her car at 3 a.m.
"I was mortified on a daily basis," Battle told The Post.
Battle was hired at UPS's huge Maspeth facility in 1993 as an unloader, quickly moving up to the position of package sorter, where she said the mostly male staff took advantage of her whenever it could.
"I would be kissed on the side of my neck without warning," she said.
The abuse continued, Battle said, even after she wrote to superiors, spoke with the human-resources staff and contacted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
"All Ms. Battle wanted to do was her job. Instead, she was subjected to personal invasions over and over again," said lawyer Lenard Leeds.
A UPS rep declined to comment, saying the company hadn't seen the suit.The alleged abuse continued up until 2003, when she was fired. NY Post Article (Sub. Required)
This is remarkably simmilar to a case filed over a year ago.
May 19,2004- Attorney for the employees, Leeds, Morelli & Brown, P.C., is alleging a pattern of discrimination exists at UPS on the basis of race, gender, national origin and retaliation. One of the UPSers, an African-American woman was daily subjected to comments like "smile for me mommy", "look at those titties", and "look at that bitch", Although she complained to UPS management and the Teamsters Union, no action was taken. She later was fired for being a trouble-maker.
The Woman Who Won The Biggest Settlement Ever Against UPS
From Roxanne Conlin & Associates P.C
Linda Channon went to work as a part-time "preloader" in the Des Moines office of the United Parcel Service (UPS) in October 1974. She was not welcome in this male-dominated work environment, but her will to survive and her devotion to her three children were stronger than the sexual taunts and cruelty of her coworkers.
Linda was repeatedly passed over for promotion until she finally came to the attention of a fair-minded man who encouraged her to become a driver as a step on the way to management. Under his wing in 1985, she became a full-time supervisor, and before long the preload operation she ran was ranked first in the nation.
Her promotion to supervisor did not shield Linda from continued sexual harassment. In one instance during an official training session, one of her managers literally kidnapped her and tried to force her to have sex with him. She talked her way out of numerous threatening sexual situations and continued to work hard and well. By 1988, she had worked her way up to a position only two levels below the top position in the state.
On November 12, 1993, one of the men who had harassed Linda over the course of her career became verbally abusive to a supervisor under Linda's management. When Linda tried to cairn the situation, the worker backed her up into a dangerous piece of moving machinery, bumped his chest against hers while screaming at her, and poked her twice in the breast. Linda's division manager witnessed this conduct. When the incident ended, the worker was simply sent on his route.
Linda was terrified and demanded that this time action be taken and that she be protected. The worker was fired, but she was criticized for her "weakness."
Her assailant challenged his termination, and a panel of three workers and three managers put him back to work with no instruction to stay away from Linda. He apparently took that as an open invitation to stalk her, which he did on a nearly daily basis. He and his friends would surround her, follow her to isolated areas of the plant, make threatening gestures, and generally terrorize her.
Despite the abuse, Linda continued to perform well. However, management rotation resulted in her coming into the ambit of another man who had hostility toward women in general and her in particular.
Linda was one of the most reluctant clients I have ever had. She did not even contact me until three days before the statute of limitations would have run on her assault claim. We filed that complaint in May 1994. After the case was filed, she was removed from her usual assignment on the basis of false accusations of poor performance. She was shuffled from position to position, including one requiring her to work nights, and ultimately was as-signed to manage a department she did not know, with no training and with a group of subordinates who undermined and sabotaged her work.
Finally, 2 years after she was assaulted, she could no longer go on. She was diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and went on medical disability. By the time we reached court, Linda Channon had, like many victims of discrimination and harassment, internalized the terrible things said and done to her by her superiors. She was both physically and mentally frail.
During the five-week trial, something miraculous happened. She saw her tormentors repeatedly impeached, saw them crumble on the stand, and occasionally saw a jury of her peers laugh out loud at their made-up excuses and transparent "mistakes." She got to tell her full story for the first time, and the jury was obviously moved.
Only four women had ever reached Linda's level with UPS in Iowa. The other three women provided testimony about the discrimination and harassment they faced. These women were also driven out of the company. Finally, we proved that UPS violated the most basic of all employment laws: Women, including Linda, were paid less for exactly the same work.
The jurors deliberated for four days. They spent most of the time trying to ascertain the appropriate amount of punitive damages. In my closing argument, I told the jury that UPS had net sales in 1996 of more than $12 billion. I told them I did not know what an appropriate amount would be to punish UPS for what it had done to Linda and to many other women employees, but I urged them "not to get carried away."
I learned after the trial that jurors considered awarding 10 percent of the net sales figure because they truly wanted UPS to understand how outrageous the conduct of these managers was. They wanted to send a ringing message and somehow break through the arrogance and ignorance UPS officials displayed throughout the trial. But they remembered that I had cautioned them not to get carried away.
The jury came back with a verdict of $527,872 in compensatory damages and more than $80 million in punitive damages-less than the 10 percent figure, but still a strong message to the company. Since then, the court has drastically reduced the verdict because of the damages cap under Title VII and left only a small fraction of the total amount the jury awarded, to the total disgust of the jurors. They told the press that they felt they had been lied to and betrayed by the law.
They did accomplish at least one significant deed. Linda's self-esteem was restored. She decided to pursue a college education. On May 3, 1998, she entered her freshman year, and through a combination of testing, credit for life experience, and a remarkable number of class hours, she graduated with a four-year degree and nearly straight A's on May 22, 1999.
In the fall, Linda will enter law school. After spending so much time pursuing justice for herself, she has decided it is her calling to help other women do the same. Certainly, she knows whereof she speaks.
Pregnant UPSers Are
Being Denied Health Benefits
NABER has learned of UPSers in North Carolina and in Nebraska who have lost heath benefits during pregnancy. In both cases, the UPSers were denied the opportunity to go to "light duty". Pregnant employees seem to be "unequally accommodated" for doctor imposed weight restrictions.
The Nebraska woman was also denied disability. UPS also refused to allow the woman to enroll in her husband's (another UPSer) health plan. This woman's mother staged Informational pickets at UPS facilities twice. And then only after invoking help from the Department of Labor did UPS allow the woman to be on her husband's insurance with the special enrollment privileges that are guaranteed by federal law.
In North Carolina, a full-time package car driver was allowed "short-term" disability but denied alternative work. Her insurance ran out after the 26 week disability ended which was 3 months before the baby due date.
According to the UPS SPD (Summary Plan Discription) for full-time employees
"If you're unable to work due to an on-the-job injury or an off-the-job injury or illness, you and your covered dependents will continue to have medical coverage for up to the 12-month period following the date your disability began."
Pregnant full-time UPSers would fall under that coverage.
A TDU article contends, "UPS is imposing a company-wide policy change that denies pregnant woman with health restrictions the right to perform alternate duties." This article claims UPS is sidestepping federal FMLA (Family Medical Leave) through a prerequisite of 1250 hours of work the previous year. Another TDU article reports on other UPSers who are victims of pregnancy discrimination.
With corporate citizens like UPS, it's little wonder why the United States of America ranks 35th in the world in infant mortality. The US is ranked just above Croatia (36), Cuba (37), and South Korea (38). UPS always talks about doing what is "right" for its employees. Then the company needs to step up to the plate to reduce infant mortality by covering pregnant employees. Is UPS responsible for the high rate in infant mortality? Of course not, but corporate policies like UPS’s and Wal-Mart’s (2 of the biggest private employers) have had an effect of rising the percentage of uninsured Americans which has added to the problem.
Your employer must provide you with any reasonable accommodation for pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions that you request with the advice of your health care provider (e.g., changing your break schedule to allow for more bathroom visits)
You have the right to be transferred to a less strenuous or dangerous position during your pregnancy if you provide medical certification of your doctor and your employer can accommodate the request. You can also get a transfer if your employer has a policy of transferring temporarily disabled employees to less strenuous positions. When your doctor says that the transfer is no longer medically needed, you have the right to your old job back. Taken from http://www.equalrights.org/publications/kyr/family.asp
Lesbian Package Car Driver Wins Hostile Workplace Lawsuit A UPSer was awarded a $63,670 settlement for a hostile work environment sexual harassment lawsuit against UPS. Kathy Hoskins, a 14 year veteran, faced severe and persistant harassment because of her appearance. Hoskins testified, "According to my former supervisor, I wasn't 'feminine' enough." She was denied new equipment, uniforms and safety gear that was available to male employees. According to her attorney Waukeen Q. McCoy, "The outcome of this case sends a clear message to UPS and the rest of corporate America that harassment based on gender stereotypes will not be tolerated... UPS should take the court's judgment seriously and enforce policies that provide a safe and equitable work environment where every employee can perform their job free from discrimination and harassment." ARTICLE ARTICLE
UPS Wins Award For Gay Equity
Georgia Equality, the state’s gay advocacy organization, recognizes political and corporate leaders who work to advance gay rights at its 2nd annual “Evening for Equality” on Aug. 27.  United Parcel Service and Home Depot are set to receive “Corporate Equality Achievement” awards for their roles in fostering workplace equality. Sovo.com ADDED 8/20/2005