When North Carolina lawmakers passed HB2 – the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act , supporters claimed it was necessary to thwart impromptu local laws like the transgender-friendly bathroom ordinance adopted by the city of Charlotte.
HB2 is that law that has consumed the news for two months and spawned country wide conversations about what bathroom transgender folks should use. The back and forth even got the state of North Carolina and the Federal Government suing each other.
To me, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory was too adamant about sticking the state with a law that from where I’m sitting couldn’t be enforced in the first place. What are authorities going to do? Stand inside restrooms and ask to see birth certificates and have folks drop their drawers to see if private parts match gender and then decide if the person is in the right restroom?
I smelled a rat somewhere around McCrory and his Republican cut buddies and when I looked deeper into HB2 I found that rat.
And that rat will bite a chunk out of North Carolina’s Civil Rights.
“HB2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, which requires transgender people (and everyone else) to use public restrooms according to the biological sex on their birth certificate. It also bars local governments from passing ordinances like Charlotte’s.
The legislation doesn’t stop there, however. Tucked inside is language that strips North Carolina workers of the ability to sue under a state anti-discrimination law, a right that has been upheld in court since 1985. “If you were fired because of your race, fired because of your gender, fired because of your religion,” said Allan Freyer, head of theWorkers’ Rights Project at the N.C. Justice Center in Raleigh, “… you no longer have a basic remedy.” [SOURCE]
The proposals in HB2 does not rescind North Carolina’s job-bias law, which still proscribes discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, or disability.
“The passage affecting discrimination lawsuits amends the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act (1977), which declares that it is against the state’s “public policy” to discriminate in employment “on account of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap.” The act — which applied to businesses with 15 or more employees — did not contain explicit language allowing alleged victims of job bias to sue. But since the mid–1980s, North Carolina courts have held that the “public policy” doctrine does give people who are wrongfully fired because of discrimination the right to recover damages under common (non-statutory) law. In the space of the 12-hour special session, HB2 “wiped out this entire body of law that’s been in place for the last 30 years.” -Chapel Hill lawyer Laura Noble.
The proposals steers workers claiming discrimination to seek justice from the federal system, where access is more difficult, the rules are much more complicated, and businesses often have significant advantages.
HB2 also cuts the time a person can sue the state. Under federal law, fired workers have just 180 days to file a claim, versus three years in state court. HB2 removes the three years to bring a claim against the state.
University of North Carolina law professor Erika Wilson described the LGBT tag as a Trojan Horse and she’s right. Very few people are aware of the underlying sweeping changes of HB2 because they’ve been overshadowed by all the attention the LGBT focus has gotten.
I do want to be clear that I’m not suggesting the LGBT community doesn’t have a dog in this fight – they do. Moreover, that dog should have very little to do with bathrooms and everything to do with blanket gender and sexual orientation discrimination.
From 2009 to 2014, North Carolina workers filed more than 28,100 federal charges of workplace discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Forty percent of the complaints involved race; 29 percent involved gender; and 22 percent involved age.