John M. Becker

Man Sues Little Caesars For Denying Spouse Health Benefits

Filed By John M. Becker | August 28, 2014 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: gay marriage, Gloria Allred, Little Caesars, marriage equality, pizza, same-sex marriage

little-caesars-logo.jpgLittle Caesars, the nation's third-largest pizza chain, has been slapped with a lawsuit by a gay former manager for allegedly denying health benefits to the legal same-sex spouses of LGB employees.

Reuters reports:

The lawsuit was brought in state Superior Court in Orange County, regional headquarters for the nation's third-largest pizza chain, by Frank Bernard, 47, who said he quit his job after Little Caesars refused to extend coverage to his husband of six years.

"I didn't want anything special, I just wanted the same benefits package as heterosexual couples," Bernard said at a news conference in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit names Little Caesars Enterprises and its parent company, Ilitch Holdings, as defendants, accusing them of discriminating against Bernard on the basis of his sexual orientation, in violation of California law.

It cites a letter Little Caesars presented Bernard explaining a benefits policy that defined "spouse" as "the one person to whom you are legally married under the laws of the state in which you reside, including common law spouse, and who is the opposite gender from you."

The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages and a court order requiring the company to treat gay and straight married workers equally in providing employment benefits.

Bernard's lawyer, Gloria Allred, says she hopes this case will "[expand] the employment rights and benefits for legally married same-sex couples." Employment benefits provided by private companies are not covered under the Supreme Court's landmark 2013 Windsor decision.


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