Conn. Woman’s Complaint Seeks Benefits for Wife
A Connecticut physical therapist has filed a sex discrimination complaint against the West Hartford senior living center where she works, saying she is being illegally denied health benefits for her wife.
Kerry Considine, 36, of Griswold filed the complaint against Brookdale Senior Living on Jan. 17 with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her lawyer said they expect the EEOC will bring the complaint to the attention of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
Considine said she sought the benefits for her wife, Renee, after they were married in November. She said Brookdale, which owns more than 550 senior living and retirement communities across the United States, told her that the corporation does not offer benefits to same-sex couples. The company is based in Tennessee, where the state constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
"That’s where the shock lies for me," she said. "I thought we, as a society, were moving forward, and to be with a company that I feel isn’t is hurtful and just not what I expected."
Julie Davis, a Brookdale spokeswoman, replied to a request for the company’s policy with a written statement saying it would not comment on the case.
"Brookdale believes strongly that we succeed through partnership with our employees; we recognize that good people make the difference and are the key to our success," she said in the statement.
A spokesman for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities also would not comment on the specific complaint. But he said that, in general, any company with a presence in Connecticut, where gay marriage is legal, cannot discriminate in providing benefits based on sexual orientation.