Bernier v. Turbocam, Inc.
We are suing Turbocam, Inc. and Health Plans, Inc., a Harvard Pilgrim company, for treating our client Lillian differently than other employees because she is a transgender woman.
Update November 21, 2023: GLAD filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Lillian Bernier, a transgender woman who was denied insurance coverage by her employer, Turbocam, Inc., for necessary healthcare related to gender transition. Health Plans, Inc. (HPI) and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England, Inc. are also named in the complaint because together they developed, administer, and operate Turbocam’s health benefits plan.
The suit alleges that the exclusion of insurance coverage for Lillian’s healthcare violates federal law prohibiting discrimination based on sex and disability and New Hampshire state law prohibiting discrimination based on sex, gender identity, and disability. GLAD initially filed the discrimination claim on Lillian’s behalf with the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission, a preliminary requirement to filing the lawsuit in court. Read more.
On December 16, 2022, GLAD filed an employment discrimination case on behalf of a transgender woman challenging her employer, Turbocam, Inc.’s total exclusion of medical coverage for necessary healthcare related to gender transition. The claim was filed at the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission under both state and federal nondiscrimination law.
Turbocam, Inc. provides healthcare coverage to workers as part of employee compensation. Lillian Bernier has worked as a machinist at Turbocam since 2019, including continuous work through the COVID pandemic. When Lillian sought coverage for doctor-recommended healthcare, she learned that the company’s self-funded health plan does not cover any treatment related to gender transition. Such an exclusion has no medical basis.
By implementing and maintaining the exclusion, Turbocam is denying Lillian the same level of healthcare benefits that other employees receive because she is transgender. Lillian, who supports herself and her family through her income, has had to pay out of pocket for medical expenses and even delay some critical care, to the detriment of herself and her family.
“I’m proud of my work as a machinist at Turbocam. Like everyone else I rely on the pay and healthcare coverage from my job to support myself and my family. I’m just asking for fair coverage and to be treated the same as my coworkers.”
-Lillian Bernier, plaintiff
Health Partners, Inc. (HPI), a Harvard Pilgrim company that administers Turbocam, Inc.’s self-funded plan, is also named in the complaint. As a third-party administrator, HPI assists Turbocam in maintaining and implementing its discriminatory exclusion of coverage for care related to gender transition in violation of state and federal law.
Transgender worker denied coverage alleges discrimination | Associated Press
Transgender Worker Denied Equal Benefits Challenges Discrimination by Turbocam, Inc. and Two Harvard Pilgrim CompaniesRead More
Lillian Bernier is simply asking for fair coverage and to be treated the same as her coworkers.