Dick's Sporting Goods will reimburse employees traveling for abortions

'We recognise people feel passionately about this topic — and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision'

Dick's Sporting Goods will reimburse employees traveling for abortions

Retail company Dick's Sporting Goods has announced that it will be reimbursing travel expenses for employees who need to go outside their states to undergo legal abortion procedure.

It follows the historic overturn by the US Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade, which now authorises states to establish their own abortion laws.

According to the sporting retail company, they will be providing up to $4,000 in travel reimbursement for employees living in states where abortion is not legal should they need to undergo the procedure in another state.

"We are announcing that if a state one of our teammates lives in restricts access to abortion, DICK'S Sporting Goods will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available," said Executive Chairman Ed Stack and President and CEO Lauren Hobart in a joint statement

"This benefit will be provided to any teammate, spouse or dependent enrolled in our medical plan, along with one support person," they said.

According to their announcement, this is a way to ensure that all their employees have "consistent and safe access" to the benefits that the company provides, regardless of where they are located.

"We recognise people feel passionately about this topic — and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision," said the executives.

"However, we also recognise that decisions involving health and families are deeply personal and made with thoughtful consideration. We are making this decision so our teammates can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them."

Read more: ‘It’s scary’ if Roe v. Wade is overturned, says Women Corporate Directors CEO

Meredith Kirshenbaum, a labour and employment attorney with Chicago-based law firm Goldberg Kohn, previously spoke to HRD on whether it is legal for companies to offer such benefits to employees.

"There's some risk that states where there are laws in place might try to penalise or punish businesses in other ways," she said.

However, she also noted that companies are weighing risks on such social issues, as they have a "recruitment and retention element" to them.

"They're worried the progressive workforce might not want to continue to live in or move to a state with restrictive measures in place. That would affect companies' ability to get top talent," she said.

Previously, Yelp and Levi Strauss & Co., as well as Amazon, Citigroup and other firms have pledged to cover travel expenses for employees who need to go out of the state for abortions, following the Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Lyft and Uber announced that they will cover legal fees for drivers who will get sued under the Texas or new Oklahoma law, which also sanctions those who will aid abortion procedures, including doctors and rideshare drivers.

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