Encouraged by UPS Statement in Anti-Gay Bias Case, Lambda Legal Continues Harnessing Support for Gay Couple Forced Apart Because of Discriminatory Policy

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Discrimination lawsuit moves forward in California state court while Lambda Legal discusses settlement after UPS announces change in relocation policy
August 26, 2003

(San Francisco, August 27, 2003) - As United Parcel Service continues discussions with Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund to fulfill its promise to treat lesbian and gay employees fairly, Lambda Legal said today that its anti-gay discrimination lawsuit against the company continues and urged people to join petitions already signed by hundreds of people urging UPS to implement the inclusion of same-sex couples in a company relocation policy.

Last week, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against UPS in California state court on behalf of Daniel Kline, who has worked for the company for more than two decades, and his partner of 27 years, Frank Sories. In January, Sories was transferred from San Francisco to Chicago by his employer, United Airlines, when its office in San Francisco closed. Kline applied for a transfer to UPS’s Chicago branch under the company’s policy that lets employees relocate to avoid having their families broken apart when their loved ones have job transfers. Just hours after the lawsuit was filed, UPS released a statement saying it has changed its policy to include domestic partners and that Kline’s transfer application had been approved.

“This policy exists to keep families intact, and we filed this case to make sure all families are included. We’re encouraged by UPS’s public statements, and we’re committed to making sure the company follows through on its promises to this couple and others like them,” said Jon W. Davidson, Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal in its Western Regional Office in Los Angeles. “We’re in discussions with UPS now and hope to resolve this soon - but, for now, our lawsuit is moving forward.”

In the days since the case was filed, several hundred Lambda Legal members have signed onto written petitions urging UPS to change its policy and treat lesbian and gay employees equally. Today, Lambda Legal launched the petition drive more broadly, explaining what has happened since the filing of the case and encouraging people to sign onto the five-sentence statement via e-mail. The petitions will be collected and sent to UPS regardless of whether the lawsuit moves forward.

“If this case isn’t resolved, UPS will receive a package it can’t ignore - from thousands of customers and potential customers demanding fairness. If UPS changes its policy and Daniel indeed is allowed to move, these petitions will be a ‘thank you’ from the gay community and our supporters to UPS for doing the right thing,” said Theresa Jefferson, Lambda Legal’s Public Education Attorney. “Either way, UPS is one of the largest companies in America and we know that a significant number of people who care about fairness and are watching this closely want their voices to be heard.”

The complete text of the e-mail petition is below. To sign on, people can simply e-mail outreach@lambdalegal.org.

The case is Kline and Sories v. UPS. It alleges that by excluding the couple from its transfer policy, UPS is in violation of state laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, marital status and sex. The lawsuit also includes breach-of-contract charges against UPS, since the company has adopted policies promising its employees protection against sexual orientation discrimination and assuring them that they will be treated with fairness, dignity and respect. Davidson is Lambda Legal’s lead attorney on the case, along with Jennifer Middleton, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s New York office, and co-counsel Alexander van Broek of Oakland, Calif.

Contact: Fred Shank, 212/809-8585, x267 ###

UPS Petition

Although UPS claims to “value diversity” within its workforce, the company only allows married employees to transfer to other UPS offices when their loved ones relocate. We commend UPS for recently adding a prohibition against sexual orientation discrimination to the company’s nondiscrimination policy, but it’s not enough. If UPS is serious about treating all of its employees equally, then UPS policies must not discriminate. The UPS transfer policy allows married employees to keep their benefits and seniority, save money and keep their families together. Lesbian and gay employees and their families deserve the same treatment.

To add your name to this petition, send an e-mail to outreach@lambdalegal.org. Read more information about the Lambda Legal lawsuit challenging the UPS transfer policy visit.

To send the petition to your family and friends, simply place the text above into an e-mail. Together we can help make the workplace fairer for LGBT employees.


 

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