Commentary

HB2 update: Still more cancellations and more details on the law’s disturbing reach

The toll taken by HB2 continues to grow and radiate destructively through North Carolina’s already fragile economy. One of the world’s greatest musicians added his name to the list of people who could not in good conscience perform in our increasingly isolated and ostracized state yesterday. This is from the statement issued by violinist Itzhak Perlman:

“As my fans know, I have spent a lifetime advocating against discrimination towards those with physical disabilities and have been a vocal advocate for treating all people equally. As such, after great consideration, I have decided to cancel my May 18th concert in North Carolina with the North Carolina Symphony as a stand against House Bill 2. As Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently stated, HB2 ‘is about a great deal more than just bathrooms. [It] is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens.” I couldn’t agree more and will look forward to returning to North Carolina when this discriminatory law is repealed.'”

Meanwhile, the details of how far reaching the so-called “bathroom law” really is were highlighted yesterday in a great article published by the good folks at the N.C. Advocates for Justice:

North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill” Is About So Much More Than Bathrooms

Printable-unisex-restroom-signThe age discrimination lawsuits filed by Maryanne White and Rick Compton were both kicked out North Carolina state court recently – but not because they lost their cases. They were kicked out because of North Carolina’s infamous transgender bathroom law.

Say what?

“I had no idea that there were two additional addendum attached to this bill,” Maryanne White said. And we didn’t either. It turns out, the law, aka HB 2, contains some “extra” sections, which have been almost completely ignored in the national conversation about this law. Writes Pro Publica/Mother Jones, among those provisions “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.” In other words, North Carolina still prohibits race, sex, religion, age, national origin, and disability employment discrimination. But HB 2 removes any way for victims to enforce this law in state court. From now on, discrimination victims in North Carolina must sue only under federal civil rights laws, and only in federal court. This is no small problem.

Advocates explain that the federal system is more difficult to access, rules are more complicated, and businesses often have “significant advantages.” Compared to filing in a North Carolina court, for example, bringing a federal civil rights claim is nearly twice as expensive, victims are subject to an arbitrary cap on damages, filing procedures are more complicated, time frames are more restrictive, and there are only a handful of federal courthouses across the state. Ultimately, experts claim, these factors will discourage most victims from filing any employment discrimination cases at all. As “Erika Wilson, a law professor at the University of North Carolina who co-directs a legal clinic for low-income plaintiffs with job and housing discrimination claims” put it, “The LGBT issues were a Trojan horse.… [P]eople were so caught up in [the LGBT] part of the law that this snuck under the radar.”

Click here to read the rest of this article.

 

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