If a certain benefit is offered to management, must it be offered to all employees?

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If a certain benefit is offered to management, must it be offered to all employees?

I currently do the payroll where I work and was just informed that one employee that has happened to opt out of being covered is now going to get paid for it. I want to know if this is right before I start cutting their paychecks. If it’s legal, should it apply to all employees and not just management? It just seems wrong to me and I don’t know if I can continue working somewhere that doesn’t offer this benefit to all employees.

Asked on December 3, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The answer will depend on the specific circumstances. Employees can and do negotiate different deals with management all the time--often when they first start, but sometimes when they are already working there. It would be perfectly legal to give a more valued employee additional pay--i.e. boost his or her salary--because or she is more valued; and that would be the case even if the negotiation was along the lines of "I don't need the health insurance, so you need to raise my salary so my all-in comp remains the same." That is, while it is generally illegal to discriminate in favor of higher-income employers  in terms of the health insurance they are offered, nothing stops a company from giving those same employees extra money as part of their total comp package if they are not receiving health insurance and negotiate extra pay. So there are ways this could be done legally, even if it is unfair.


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