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AT&T to Resolve Sick Leave Situation with Regard to Gay Couple

Some quick action from AT&T.

Towleroad has learned that the Diversity & Inclusion group at AT&T and Human Resources are working to resolve the case of Bryan Dickenson I posted about earlier.

AttIn addition, AT&T released the following statement:

"AT&T regrets that there has been confusion over the administration of family leave with respect to registered domestic partners. AT&T has taken steps to ensure that FMLA is extended to employees with registered domestic partners for the purpose of caring for the partner, regardless of the state in which the employee resides. AT&T has a long history of inclusiveness and we embrace and celebrate diversity of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation in our workforce."

We look forward to hearing that the couple's case has been completely resolved.

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  1. And 2 million queens clutching their jewel-encased iPhones breathe a collective sigh of relief.

    Posted by: crispy | Jan 29, 2010 4:03:41 PM

  2. I guess my question is what do they consider to be "registered domestic partners?" Is that an internal thing, some form the employee has to fill out and send to HR, which could be awkward? Or are they referring to some sort of legal status, in which case what if where the employee lives does not provide legal recognition at all?

    Posted by: Dickie | Jan 29, 2010 4:11:56 PM

  3. "Clean up in aisle PR Disaster."

    That WAS fast.

    Awww, and me without any encrusted anything of any kind. Damn.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jan 29, 2010 4:16:00 PM

  4. Well, the release says "regardless of the state in which the employee resides", so that won't be an issue. I suspect this may be an internal thing AT&T will deal with?

    It may feel awkward, but if AT&T is willing to extend benefits, I doubt that a couple which has been together for 30 years will feel too awkward filling out a couple of forms.

    Posted by: DR | Jan 29, 2010 4:20:49 PM

  5. It's a shame that it had to take negative press for AT&T to update their workplace policies but I applaud them for changing them, nonetheless.

    Posted by: Yanz | Jan 29, 2010 4:37:54 PM

  6. I doubt the initial rejection was a top level decision, and was made by some regional rep who hates gays. Then they got a smackdown from the higher-ups. The bigots keep forgetting that the gays don't roll over like they used to anymore.

    Posted by: David | Jan 29, 2010 4:53:50 PM

  7. The beauty of the internet is that it makes this kind of "action-line" initiative possible.

    Although this should have never happened, AT&T is acting appropriately now, and I'm thinking I can use my iPhone guilt-free.

    I hope everything works out for this couple.

    Posted by: Interested Bystander | Jan 29, 2010 4:53:53 PM

  8. I am glad they are getting things back on track for these two men. But Ask around... How many straight employees were required to produce a Marriage License when they added their spouse.... answer NONE!

    In fact try to give a marriage license to your employer. They will not even know what to do with it.

    Posted by: Jack | Jan 29, 2010 4:59:44 PM

  9. This is great news and I am glad to see it getting resolved.

    To quote from David in Chicago's comment form the earlier post when this was not being resolved and folks were (rightly) upset.
    "I did some research, and found a direct phone number to the office of John J. Stephens, Senior Vice President and Controller for AT&T,
    The direct line to his office is:
    (214) 757-3220.

    A very nice lady answered the phone ... PLEASE BE COURTEOUS TO HER!

    I would encourage readers to call Mr. Stephen's office"

    And in this case express appreciation for AT&T's quick correction of this issue.

    Posted by: Dego | Jan 29, 2010 5:17:14 PM

  10. Good for ATT&T for making the world a bit kinder.

    Posted by: jaragon | Jan 29, 2010 5:35:17 PM

  11. @dickie

    My company offers equal benefits (taxed because the IRS requires them to do so) to all domestic partners (same sex and opposite sex) regardless of local law and requirements.

    If you have documentation from a civil authority (marriage, civil union or domestic partnership) you provide whatever documentation is given to you by that civil authority.

    If you do not have documentation from a civil authority, you obtain a form from HR called a statement of domestic partnership, complete it, provide a joint utility bill or something similar and the company treats you as domestic partners. As I said, this process is open to opposite sex couples as well and they can register as domestic partners without obtaining civil marriage.

    I would imagine the process is probably similar at AT&T.

    Posted by: Beebes | Jan 29, 2010 5:42:12 PM

  12. Glad this is hopefully getting worked out. I fired off two emails to AT&T about it.

    Posted by: Dusty | Jan 29, 2010 6:21:10 PM

  13. My company, one of the top Fortune 15, requires no
    paperwork to be delivered to the company. The logic is "We don't ask married couples to bring in their marriage certificate to prove their marriage, so it would be wrong to ask gay people to bring in paperwork." WHat they do ask is that if there is nothing in the state, that the couple sign and get notarized a statement of domestic partnership and stick it in a file at home.

    THe second thing they require, is that if marriage becomes available in the state you live in, then you must get married within a year to retain DP benefits. This is because it now becomes possible to have the same rules for gay and straight people in that state. The 1 year is to allow you to get married on your anniversary if that is your choice.

    Posted by: Jay | Jan 29, 2010 6:31:41 PM

  14. I work for the company and my partner is registered as my domestic partner, I would expect my management to support me if my partner ever needed my full attention.

    Posted by: davefromtampa | Jan 29, 2010 8:09:15 PM

  15. Sounds like this was originally the decision of a bigoted local AT&T store manager in Texas. AT&T Corporate learned of the issue finally and fixed it.

    Posted by: Mike C. | Jan 30, 2010 2:21:38 PM

  16. My Fortune 50 company DOES require married or registered couples to provide documentation (either state docs or a filed form for DP with the company) - I had to pony up my own marriage license last year.

    However, that done, that is all that is required for benefits extension.

    Having grown up in the ATT/CWA system, replete with union and representation, this does sound like corporate had to step in and remind some manager what the letter and spirit of their policies are - and to fix it.

    Posted by: Kit | Jan 31, 2010 11:51:39 AM

  17. In my opinion it was really important to them!

    Posted by: freelance writers | Jul 4, 2011 3:37:04 AM

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