NC Chamber: LGBT law changes should allow some lawsuits
Posted May 11, 2016
RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Chamber says it wants changes to a state law that limits protections to LGBT people, but only offers specifics on a provision that blocks workplace discrimination lawsuits from state courts.
After weeks of silence on House Bill 2, the state's business lobby issued a statement Wednesday that called for tweaks to the controversial law, which has created a backlash among some major corporations and trade groups, including the cancelation of some planned expansions and conventions moving to other states.
The N.C. Chamber is asking lawmakers to allow cases by people who think their employer discriminated against them because of their age, sex, race or other factors be heard in state courts. But the group wants to shorten the filing deadline from three years to 180 days, create a screening process in the state Department of Labor and allow lawsuits to be shifted to the North Carolina Business Court.
The Chamber didn't take a position on parts of House Bill 2 that limit legal protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, even though local chambers in Raleigh, Durham and other cities have said those provisions are hurting business. The state group said only that discrimination language in the law be modified to match federal statutes, which affect only businesses that receive federal funds, are involved in interstate commerce or have a certain number of employees.
"As the state's largest, broad-based business advocacy organization, our membership has diverse opinions and perspectives that reflect your businesses, your communities and your personal points of view,' Chamber President and Chief Executive Lew Ebert wrote in a letter to the group's members.
House Bill 2 also blocks local governments from requiring businesses pay more than the $7.25 statewide minimum wage.