A same-sex male couple recently filed a class discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the city of New York for refusing in vitro fertilization (IVF) benefits offered to other city workers. The couple alleges that the city violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and state and local civil rights laws when it denied these benefits to Corey Briskin, a former city assistant district attorney, and his husband.
The city’s insurance policy provides benefits for IVF only for covered workers who can provide evidence of infertility. This evidence is defined in terms of either a female with a male partner or no partner at all. As a result, the policy categorically excludes all gay male workers from receiving IVF benefits.
In 2021, Briskin asked the city’s Office of Labor Relations to modify its policy to provide IVF benefits to gay men, but it denied his request. Briskin then contacted the city’s Corporation Counsel about a policy change but again received a denial of his request.
In their charge, the couple also pointed out that the state’s financial services department had completed a study showing IVF is a significant benefit for same-sex couples. In response to that study, the state directed insurance companies to revise their IVF policies. The state legislature also amended state insurance law, effective January 2020, to prohibit insurers from denying IVF benefits based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Because New York City is a self-funded insurer, it is subject to federal rather than state insurance laws.
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