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College offers medical plan to employees' pets, denies it to their human companions

by PageOneQ

A Florida college, after denying employees' domestic partners access to medical insurance, has in turn offered a medical plan for employees' household pets, the Palm Beach Post reports.

In August, medical benefits for human domestic partners of employees were denied due to a tie vote among Palm Beach Community College trustees. While the increase in benefits would not have changed the cost to the college, there was concern about future increases due to higher membership in the group plan.

"The fact of the matter is that puppies are covered, partners are not," says Palm Beach County Human Rights Council president Rand Hoch, calling it an affront to employees with domestic partners.

"There's really no comparison," counters PBCC spokesperson Grace Truman, since the pet benefit is part of a discount offered by an outside business rather than part of an employer-administered benefits plan.

College president Dennis Gallon and human relations director Ellen Grace both support domestic partner benefits, which several other colleges and universities in Florida already offer to their employees.

Continues Rand Hoch, "Hopefully, the college's trustees will act promptly to address this absurd inequity."


Originally published on Monday November 26, 2007.

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