Is it legal for a company to provide different benefits to the same class of employees based on the state that they work in?

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Is it legal for a company to provide different benefits to the same class of employees based on the state that they work in?

My employer has multiple locations in the US. We have salaried and hourly employees in 2 states. Employees in State A receive medical, dental, vision and 401k. Employees in State B receive medical only, and the policy has lower coverage than State A. Premiums for individuals in either state are paid 100% by the employer; 50% of the additional cost for family insurance is covered in State A; 0% of the additional cost for family insurance is covered in State B. Employees have the same roles and titles in both locations, most are hourly, some are salaried.

Asked on February 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is perfectly legal. While a company cannot discriminate against employees at the same location, there is no law saying that the same benefits have to be offered at different locations--especiallly in regards to health benefits when the locations are in different states, which may be governed by different laws or regulations, may have different insurers or plans available, and almost certainly have different cost structures. For example, a company I used to work for had a NYC and an Iowa location; the Iowa staff had much better benefits, because health insurance in Iowa is much more affordable. The Iowa staff was, however, paid less--companies also do not have to keep salaries consistent across multiple sites or locations.


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