Domestic Partner Benefits at Niceville Police Department
With the movement for equal opportunities growing faster each year, more and more companies are expanding domestic benefits to accommodate all employees. One of the most controversial is the offering of domestic partner benefits for unmarried employees who claim a partner. The majority of partners are same sex persons; however, many are of different sex who simply defer to being legally married. Although controversial in other organizations, the Niceville Police Department provides the same benefits to all employees, including domestic partners, as long as the employees submit a signed affidavit. After careful research and planning, the Niceville Police Department made the decision and was able to understand the overall impact to the organization. The impact, as will be further explained, turns out to be minimal from a legal, financial, and equality point of view.
The choice to offer benefits to employees of a domestic partnership is at the discretion of the employer. In addition, the employer also has the judgment for what types of benefits will be offered to employees of domestic partnership, as the laws surrounding this issue are in a constant state of change. “Employers must sift through three different layers of legal requirements in order to determine their options or obligations: U.S. federal law, state law requirements, and any obligations imposed by municipalities in which the employer operates” (Winzeler, 2007, p. 6). According to Winzeler (2007), there is no federal law that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, the federal government defines a legal union as one man and one woman. Therefore, the federal government will not recognize benefits like social security to those of a domestic partnership.
At the state level, the laws concerning domestic partners vary from state to state. In many states, such as Pennsylvania, the law prohibits discrimination of sexual orientation...