In my country of residence, it is not mandatory for employers to offer benefits to their employees. However, if they do offer benefits, then they are not legally allowed to discriminate based on age, gender, race, or marital status.

For family health insurance coverage, my employer will cover the additional fees above single coverage if the employee is married, but not if the employee is in a common-law marriage (my country recognizes common-law marriage as a legal marital status). This policy is in writing. The company may not be aware that this is against the law.

The policy does not affect me directly as of now, but it may affect others in the company, and it may affect me in the future.

The company is small enough that if I found a way to report this anonymously, it would almost certainly be attributed to me. How do I approach this situation without adversely affecting my career with this company?

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    A conversation with HR would be a great first step. If culturally appropriate start with something like "I noticed something in the employee handbook that seems off to me. It says X but the law says Y. Is there something that I'm missing here?" This gives an opening to bring this to their attention without any accusation of incompetence or wrongdoing. – Myles Apr 1 '15 at 21:51
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    Get a lawyer's opinion before concluding something violates the law. It is nearly universal for employers to contract with their carriers for optional medical coverage only for the employee's immediate family, defined as spouse and dependent kids. (Which can be unfair to gay couples in places where same-sex marriage is not available, so some employers make a specific exception for folks who intend to marry as soon as the law allows them to.) I believe you'll find that this has passed every legal challenge that has been thrown at it. A better bet might be to try to persuade, rather than demand. – keshlam Apr 1 '15 at 23:23
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    @keshlam, I would hold back on the 'nearly universal' comment as long as we don't know where OP actually lives. – Veselin Romic Apr 2 '15 at 16:54
  • @veselinromic: point granted I'd edit if SE allowed doing so. – keshlam Apr 2 '15 at 18:09
  • if it doesn't impact you, why worry about it and create an issue? I can't see how that could work to your benefit. Seeing a lawyer etc., what for? It's a non issue from your viewpoint, by the time it becomes an issue you may well be in a different job or even a different country. – Kilisi Sep 25 '15 at 1:47

If you are afraid to ask anyone inside the company, find an attorney outside whom you can trust and who is not affiliated with the company.

I knew one instance that is related (sexual orientation). The person chose to seek out a law professor at a nearby university that had no affiliation of the company (they did not receive any grants from the company and thereby had no allegiances to it).

They got good solid information from that source that convinced them that unfortunately there was nothing against the law in that location. The person lasted only long enough until they found a different position elsewhere.


As you stated, the company may not be aware of the legalities of it policy. The first step would be to respectfully point out the inconsistencies with out pointing out the legalities. Once the company's ignorance is ruled out then you should consult a labor lawyer so that you know your rights.

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