Question and Answer
Part of the mission of the Exempt Staff Council is to serve as a communicative body between exempt staff constituents and the University committee and administration. We receive requests for information through our website, council meetings, exempt staff forums, and through other venues. In an effort to share this information as effectively as possible, we have listed these questions and responses below.
Is there a place to get help with filing a grievance?
You can check with your HR Partner or get further information in the Employee Handbook.
The UST non-discrimination policy states there is no discrimination in employment based on orientation, but employment is more than hiring and firing. It is also all the benefits and responsibilities that accrue during employment. I am unequal to my fellow staff members--for example their spouses can receive health insurance benefits and tuition remission; mine cannot. Has there ever been/will there ever be consideration of full partner benefits?
Response from HR (Edna Comedy): The questioner is absolutely correct. The term “employment” refers not only to “hiring and firing” but also to all other aspects of an employee’s employment with the University of St. Thomas. The university’s health care plan provides coverage for all benefits-eligible employees and their legal dependents, including spouses. Any employee and their legal dependents are eligible to receive health care coverage. As you may know, the eligibility provision of the University’s health care plan incorporates a strict definition of marriage, which mirrors that provided by the State of Minnesota Defense of Marriage Act of 1997. That legislation clarifies that a “lawful marriage may be contracted only between persons of the opposite sex." It specifically prohibits "marriage between persons of the same sex" (Minnesota Statutes chapter 517.01 and 517.03). Therefore, the Defense of Marriage Act does not recognize a domestic partnership as a lawful marriage. Because of this, the unmarried domestic partner of a UST employee is ineligible for UST benefits.