Walt Sharp, a spokesman for AT&T, confirmed to Dallas Voice that Brian Dickenson will be granted family medical leave and has released the following statement:
"AT&T regrets that there has been confusion over the administration of family leave with respect to registered domestic partners. We have taken steps to ensure that benefits like FMLA are extended to employees with registered domestic partners for the purpose of caring for the partner, regardless of the state in which the employee resides. AT&T has a long history of inclusiveness and we embrace and celebrate diversity of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation in our workforce."
Earlier we reported: A Dallas-based man fears termination after having been denied sick leave that would be offered to heterosexual married couples in order to care for his ailing partner.
Bryan Dickenson, a 12-year AT&T employee, has been using vacation time to care for his partner Bill Shugg, after Shugg suffered a debilitating stroke last September, the Dallas Voice reports.
Dickenson requested time off under the federal Family Medical Leave Act, but AT&T is refusing to grant Dickenson the 12 weeks of leave that would be afforded to a heterosexual spouse under the act. Dickensen is concerned that when that time runs out he'll be fired for requesting additional time off to care for his longtime companion.
Ironically, AT&T maintains the highest score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, which ranks companies according to their treatment of LGBT employees. Earlier this week, HRC listed the company as one of its "Best Places to Work."
A rally in support of the couple is being organized for Saturday, January 30 in front of the AT&T store in Dallas.