The Charlotte Observer editorial page performed an important service this weekend when it highlighted one of the under reported, but nonetheless most highly destructive sections of HB 2 — North Carolina’s new discrimination law.
In “Abracadabra! Protections disappear,” the Observer explained the outrageous decision to repeal North Carolina’s decades-old state right to sue for employment discrimination. The new provision was simply slipped into the discrimination bill and makes North Carolina one of only two states in the union to have such an absurd policy — Mississippi is the other.
Here’s the Observer:
“Many thousands of N.C. workers file workplace discrimination charges each year. Suddenly, fired workers can do so only under federal, not state, law. That’s an important change because such cases are more expensive and more time-consuming, involve more procedural hurdles and impose much stricter caps on damage awards. Corporate employers generally have more money and time than fired employees who are usually busy just trying to find another job and stay afloat.
Under the old state law, a worker had three years to file a claim. Once he did, his case often worked its way through the court system relatively quickly.
Now, state law gives workers no avenue to act. Instead, they have six months to file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC will then take a year or two before, perhaps, granting the right to sue. The worker then has 90 days to do so.”
As the Observer also noted in conclusion, it was a remarkable exercise in dishonest deception (i.e. business as usual for the current North Carolina General Assembly):
“Even aside from this being a ruthless policy change, there was no urgency to do it in the one-day special session. It easily could have waited – and received genuine debate – in a regular session.
What did it have to do with Charlotte bathrooms, anyway? Nothing at all. But the hand is quicker than the eye.”