A federal judge has ruled that Catholic Relief Services, an international humanitarian aid organization based in Baltimore, has been discriminating against a gay employee by denying his husband health insurance.
When the employee, known in court records as “John Doe,” took the job as a data analyst for Catholic Relief Services in 2016, he was told his husband could get health insurance through the organization’s spousal benefits system, according to the legal documents.
“And then CRS reached out to him and said, oh, that was a mistake. We don’t cover same-sex spouses,” said Eve Hill, a partner at the law firm Brown Goldstein & Levy and one of several lawyers representing Doe.
CRS did initially provide the benefits to Doe’s husband, but after months of discussions between Doe and the nonprofit’s human resources department, the organization removed Doe’s husband from the health plan in October 2017.
Doe filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission in 2018, followed by a lawsuit in 2020. Last week, Judge Catherine Blake at the U.S. District Court in Baltimore ruled in Doe’s favor. Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, Blake wrote in her opinion that CRS’s refusal to insure Doe’s husband amounts to discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. CRS also violated the federal Equal Pay Act and the Maryland Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, Blake wrote.