(CNSNews.com) - A homosexual advocacy group says it is suing United Parcel Service on the grounds that the company discriminates against its homosexual employees by excluding them from a corporate relocation policy.
UPS allows its married employees to relocate to another city when a spouse gets a job transfer. The idea is to keep families together.
But according to the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, UPS refused to give employee Daniel Kline the same benefit when his male partner was transferred from San Francisco to Chicago.
According to Lambda Legal, Kline's transfer was approved at district and regional levels, but it ultimately was rejected at the corporate level because the men are not legally married to each other.
In a press release, a senior counsel for Lambda Legal said UPS's policy -- intended to help loyal employees keep their families intact -- "wrongly excludes certain types of families, forcing people like our clients to choose between their lifelong partners and their lifelong careers."
Jon W. Davidson added, "This kind of blatant and unabashed discrimination is clearly illegal. UPS doesn't have to let its employees relocate to stay with their families, but if the company offers this benefit to straight employees, it also has to offer it to gay employees."
Davidson works for Lambda Legal's Western Regional Office in Los Angeles, and he is the lead attorney on the case. He said UPS has violated state laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation, marital status, and sex.
According to the Lambda Legal press release, 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.
Kline, who has worked for UPS for more than 20 years, is quoted as saying, "I just want to live with the man whom I've spent that last 27 years of my life with."
His lawsuit seeks to force policy changes at UPS as well as unspecified financial damages.