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Controversy Is Brewing over the Legality of Abortion Travel Benefits

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An extremely interesting issue has arisen over whether employers can be charged with discrimination by providing abortion travel benefits.  One of the EEOC commissioners has instituted a rarely used Agency procedure to initiate discrimination investigations involving at least three companies over their providing abortion travel benefits to employees.  The "Commissioner charges" allege that the employers are favoring workers seeking abortions while discriminating against pregnant workers and disabled workers because they are not offering equivalent benefits for their medical needs.  The EEOC's former General counsel in a letter sent to employers pointed out such possibilities, but so far the EEOC has declined comment on these theories.  

Editor's Note:  It is unlikely that the current EEOC majority will support these charges, but of course private lawsuits can always be filed.  Further, it may be unusual for an employer to cover travel for abortion but not offer benefits for other pregnancy related matters and medical necessities.

This article is part of our January 2023 Newsletter.

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