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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 22, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 30
North Carolina restores right to sue for workplace discrimination

Most of anti-LGBT HB 2 still on the books
Section One
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North Carolina restores right to sue for workplace discrimination

Most of anti-LGBT HB 2 still on the books

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill giving Gay and Lesbian employees back their right to sue employers for workplace discrimination.

The bill only applies to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, not gender identity, and it does not add any additional protections for LGBT workers.

The right to sue for discrimination was removed by North Carolina's notorious HB 2, which McCrory originally supported and signed into law on March 23, only hours after it was passed by the state legislature.

In addition to preventing North Carolina workers from suing employers over discrimination, HB 2 also repealed Charlotte's anti-discrimination ordinance, forbade other municipal governments from passing similar legislation, and required Transgender people to use restrooms appropriate for the gender they were assigned at birth.

On top of all that, the measure prohibited North Carolina from raising the minimum wage beyond the $7.25 federal level.

Apart from restoring the right to sue - which very likely could not have survived a court challenge - the new bill signed by the governor changes nothing in HB 2.

After signing the new bill, McCrory said in a statement that the ban on Trans people using restrooms corresponding to their gender identity is a national issue that will be decided in the courts.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has already notified McCrory that the law violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Violence Against Women Act of 2011. North Carolina and 21 other states have sued the federal government for overreach, and the DOJ has responded with a suit against North Carolina.

A US District Court judge said he expects the issue to come to trial in October or November this year.

'Gov. McCrory bizarrely patted himself on the back this afternoon for repealing a measure that he was forced to admit on national television was 'very poorly thought out,' said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs.

'No one is applauding Gov. McCrory for undoing a small part of his massive error in judgment - especially not so long as the most vile anti-LGBTQ law in the country remains on the books. The fact remains: because Gov. McCrory and the state legislature have done nothing to fix the profound damage they have inflicted on North Carolina, LGBTQ people across the state continue to suffer harm and hostility in their own homes, schools, and communities.'

HB 2 sparked a nationwide wave of boycotts, and estimates cited by HRC show that the measure has already cost North Carolina more than 1,700 jobs and more than $500 million in lost economic activity.

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