NC Chamber: LGBT law changes should allow some lawsuits

Posted May 11, 2016

House Bill 2 (HB2)

— 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.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • John Miller May 12, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Yup, I'm fully aware - thank you. I also know you are wrong.

    True - you or your or employer can terminate the relationship without having to give a reason IF IT ISN'T ILLEGAL. i.e., doesn't violate state or federal law. An employer can't fire someone because of their race, religion etc. and simply say there wasn't a reason. If you can prove that is why you were terminated, you sue. But you have to jump through the EEOC stuff first which eats into the proposed 180 day limit to sue.

    Thanks, NCGA.

  • George Herbert May 12, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    If elections do not turn out as the Republicans in the General Assembly want, they change the law. It's not just HB2. It also happened with the Wake County Board of Commissioners and the Greensboro City Council. Even Gov. McCrory warned the Republicans against meddling in local affairs last year: “We have some legislators who also want to be mayor and city councilmen. ... If someone wants to change the form of government in one of your cities, then go run for City Council, for mayor.”

  • Raleigh Rose May 12, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Interesting you say that about elections. In Mar 2015 the city council in Charlotte voted on a bathroom ordinance that did not pass. In Nov 2015 the people of Charlotte voted in a new mayor and new members of the council that openly supported LGBT rights. With these new members the bathroom ordinance was passed. So, the people did vote new leaders in, but the NCGA felt the need to step in and override. Considering the majority of child abuse victims know their attacker, the chances of them being attacked in a public restroom by a stranger is pretty low. If laws against rape and molestation don't stop predators now, is HB2 going to make a difference? You know, kinda like what those on the right like to scream about with gun laws. Or is it because it makes you uncomfortable to realize that people who are LGBT are people too and deserve the same rights and protections under the law we all enjoy?

  • Demute Sainte May 12, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I believe petition and file suit are two different things. Petition is to put forth an idea or grievance for consideration, while a suit is between two separate parties.

    Not that I agree with this portion of HB2... There are still plenty of avenues to pursue possible discrimination against an employer.

  • Roger Way May 12, 2016
    user avatar

    As I understand it, the First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievances. This includes a right to file suit in a court of law. How can the State of North Carolina withhold or place costly bureaucratic restrictions on this basic right? I really don't understand this law or the foolishness behind it. I NOW understand WHY the Federal Govt is getting involved.

    I voted Repub last State election and I can't wait to vote these people out.

  • Demute Sainte May 12, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    You do realize that NC is an "At will" employment State?

    Employers have the right to fire/terminate/end your employment for any reason, or no reason, and without prior notification. Makes it pretty tough to prove discrimination in almost any case.

    And you, as an employee also have the right to end your employment for any reason, and without notification with out the fear your employer will withhold any owed wages or retaliate in any way.

    That is the way it is.... Dont like it? Elect those that will change the current, and decades old system.

  • John Miller May 11, 2016
    user avatar

    They're a disgrace. Before you can file, you have to have gone through the EEOC process which can take months. Only if you get the nod from the EEOC can you go ahead and file. So you'll likely have very little time to find a lawyer, prepare the suit, and file.

    And the North Carolina Business Court. Seriously? It deals with "cases involving complex and significant issues of corporate and commercial law." Maybe I am extremely dense, but what does that have to do with an employer discriminating against a PERSON?

    Lower one bar while raising another two.

    This is just disgusting.

  • Demute Sainte May 11, 2016
    user avatar

    Its interesting... any person that believes they have been discriminated against for ANY reason is free to file a claim with the State Employment office , and/or Federal court.