By now hopefully you’ve heard that HB2 wasn’t just about the right of transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Among other things, HB2 also eliminated important protections for employees who are fired for a discriminatory reason– based on race, religion, sex, disability or age. An opinion piece in Raleigh’s N&O over the weekend by Durham attorney and life-long Tar Heel Stewart Fisher explains just how devastating that change will be to North Carolina workers. Fisher shares examples of the kind of discrimination his clients have experienced recently:
For the past 34 years I have represented employees who have been mistreated at work. Discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, disability and age occurs every day in our state. In just the past year, I have represented:
* A black plumber who left his job after protesting that he was being paid less than his white co-workers and found a noose in his work truck.
* A gay truck driver fired after complaining that his trainer used a slur and said he “acted like a girl.”
* A marketing professional fired at age 60, shortly after the vice president of his company announced that they needed “more young people” and “more people with blue hair and tattoos.”
* A Native American employee who resigned after the owner of his company repeatedly taunted him by saying white people took his land and his women.
* A Muslim computer programmer fired after he took time to attend a service at his mosque in honor of the Muslims who were shot in Chapel Hill.
* A female property manager fired less than two weeks after telling her boss she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
* A black factory worker fired after being told “you are just as much a (racial slur) today as you were yesterday.”
Now, thanks to HB2, every one of those workers who was fired for a discriminatory reason will have a much more difficult time enforcing their rights, Fisher explains. Its infuriating that instead of enhancing protections for people who are discriminated against in North Carolina, the General Assembly held a special session to roll back those protections – protections that have been in place for 35 years.
Here’s hoping that Governor McCrory and the NCGA are starting to regret the impact of HB2. The North Carolina Justice Center is one of many organizations calling for Governor McCrory and state legislators to end workplace discrimination rather than expanding it. You can learn more about these efforts by clicking here.