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More Rights Extended to Gay Employees of Federal Government

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Gay and lesbian employees working for the federal government now have something new to look forward to. According to the Washington Post, gay employees can now take leave without pay when tending to a family member's educational or medical needs.

Director of Office of Personnel Management John Berry instructed in a September 10 memo that federal agencies must now extend 24 hours of leave without pay each year to gay workers with a domestic partner. Accompanying children to medical or dental appointments or taking care of a sick partner are some of the ways in which this type of leave can be used.

"Anything we can do to make our federal employees know that we respect them and we want to treat them equally, we should be about doing," John Berry said through the Washington Post.

Domestic partners in Texas are still not granted full benefits because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is still in place. The federal government's leave-without-pay policy is separate from the policies of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, the Obama administration did recently extend more FMLA rights to same-sex couples by expanding the law's definition of "son or daughter" to a broader definition, which has extended the rights of a parent to non-traditional families.

Anybody who has questions about their rights under FMLA or leave-without-pay policies should contact a Houston employment lawyer to learn more about employment laws in Texas and at the federal level. An employment lawyer can determine if an employee's rights have been violated and can help a person through the process of filing a legal claim.

Related Resources:

  • Department of Labor Amends FMLA (FindLaw's Houston Employment Law Blog)
  • See a Houston Employment Lawyer (FindLaw)
  • Rights and Responsibilities Under the FMLA (FindLaw)

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