Main | Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Target Faces Loss Of Contract With San Francisco Over LGBT Benefits

Target currently does not have a location in San Francisco, but it wants one, which is perhaps why it has offered to provide services to the trauma unit at San Francisco General. But to get that contract, the city would have to waive its long-standing requirement that all companies involved in city business offer the same benefits to LGBT employees that it does to straight employees. Via the San Francisco Appeal:
Not so fast, said Human Rights Commission Executive Director Theresa Sparks, whose office oversees all so-called 12B waivers (so named for the section of the Administrative Code which guarantees Equal Benefits). The HRC tentatively approved Safeway's waiver for its $90,000, three-year contract -- it is, after all, the only 24-hour food store and pharmacy near SF General -- but has put the brakes, at least temporarily, on Target's waiver request for its $75,000, three-year contract. Typically, waivers are only granted to contractors or companies who provide a service no other entity can provide, Sparks said, like an engineering firm that has a patent on a turbine, or a Canadian software company with sole rights to the computer program that controls the doors at the County Jail (both real examples). "We don't just give these waivers out indiscriminately," she told the Appeal on Tuesday evening. "The whole concept of a domestic partner started in San Francisco. This is a very important process, and we protect it at all costs." Before Target's waiver is granted, the Human Rights Commission wants to be sure that a compliant vendor can't be found, Sparks said.
Target may still get the contract. But you can bet that this would not be such a huge issue were it not for the ongoing national boycott regarding their contribution to an anti-gay group in Minnesota.

NOTE: Target does provide domestic partner insurance benefits to its employees, so it's unclear what benefits are available only to heterosexual employees.

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