CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

Walmart Quietly Announces It Will (Finally) Provide Benefits To Same-Sex Couples

walmartrainbowIn a mass postcard mailing — because it’s 1895 –the nation’s largest employer, Walmart, announced it would provide benefits to domestic partners, including same-sex couples.

Consistently one of Fortune magazine’s top businesses, the superchain has a checkered past when it comes to the LGBT community — and that’s not even including the “trannysaurus” greeting cards. However, by adding trans protections to its employee policy in 2011, Walmart was able to bring its Human Right Campaign Corporate Equality Index score up from a dismal 40 to a respectable-ish 60.

HRC President Chad Griffin, a former Walmart employee during his teenage years in Arkansas, said in an emailed statement to USA Today that he was “moved by my former employer’s historic action that further proves equality is good business.”

According to spokesman Randy Hargrove, Walmart was already in the process of better defining what a domestic partner is, but the  Supreme Court’s decision to strike down DOMA — as well as the looming presence of Obamacare — was the extra kick they needed.

Employees can now claim their partners — whether same or opposite sex, married or unmarried — as long as they’ve been “living together in an ongoing exclusive” relationship for at least 12 months and intend to stay that way, Hargrove said. He added, however, “No proof is required today to enroll a spouse.”

So yay, benefits! Good luck getting them, though, since employees rarely work enough hours to qualify for healthcare coverage or to pay the high deductibles.

“The real issue with Walmart’s health care is that most of us are unable to afford the coverage,” said former employee Lucas Handy, who earned a whopping $8.95 an hour before being fired in July.

Hey, that’s still $1.70 more than the federal minimum wage so Walmart isn’t completely evil. Just a respectable-ish “mostly evil.”