North Carolina General Assembly does more than just invalidate Charlotte’s LGBT ordinance

by Richard L. Rainey

On Wednesday night, the North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill (HB) 2, which was then signed by Governor Pat McCrory. While HB 2 was prompted by the desire to overturn Charlotte’s recently enacted ordinance that banned discrimination against LGBT people in the provision of public accommodations and allowed transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choice, its actual scope is much wider than that. The newly enacted law has the following provisions:

  • The law prevents local governments from imposing any requirement on employers pertaining to the compensation of employees, such as minimum wages, hours of labor, benefits, or leave. This means cities and counties can’t enact “living wage” ordinances or require paid leave, as has been done in other parts of the country.
  • The law prohibits local governments from enacting ordinances that prohibit employment discrimination. Thus, local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or any other factor are not allowed.
  • The law amends the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act (NCEEPA) by clarifying that discrimination against a person’s “biological sex” (not just “sex”) is not permitted. Biological sex is defined as the sex that is stated on the person’s birth certificate.
  • The law further states that the NCEEPA, while a statement of public policy, does not create any statutory or common-law private cause of action, and no person may bring any civil action based on it. This provision means that common-law claims for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, which have become quite common in the area of employment law litigation, can’t be based on the NCEEPA. Of course, pursuing federal discrimination claims is still an available avenue.
  • The law prevents local governments from imposing antidiscrimination ordinances with respect to businesses that are places of public accommodation. This is the provision directly targeted at the Charlotte ordinance.
  • The law provides requirements for school districts and government agencies on the use of restrooms. Essentially, an individual must use the bathroom designated for his or her biological sex.

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Appeals court keeps hold on Obama’s immigration orders

May 27, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

No quick resolution is in sight to the uncertainty surrounding President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. On May 26, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to lift a temporary hold on Obama’s actions, which were designed to ease deportation worries for millions of undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for years.

“Employers will have to wait possibly months, or years, for the courts or Congress to resolve the status of undocumented immigrants who would have been eligible for work permits under President Obama’s executive action,” said Elaine C. Young, an attorney with the Kirton McConkie law firm in Salt Lake City and an editor of Utah Employment Law Letter.

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Supreme Court clarifies employer obligations related to pregnant workers

March 25, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Young v. United Parcel Service means employers need to think twice before treating pregnant employees under job restrictions differently than they treat nonpregnant employees who are similarly unable to perform their jobs temporarily.

In a 6-3 ruling handed down March 25, the Court reached for middle ground between interpretations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) offered by both parties as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). By sending the case back to the lower court, the justices revived the employee’s claim that her treatment violated the PDA.

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North Carolina’s unemployment overhaul to take effect July 1

by Richard L. Rainey

North Carolina’s law overhauling the state’s unemployment system will take effect July 1, bringing about a small tax increase for many employers and a reduced maximum weekly benefit amount for claimants. It also will change the circumstances in which a claimant is disqualified from benefits.

During the economic recession, the state borrowed more than $2.5 billion from the federal government to cover unemployment payments. The North Carolina General Assembly enacted the new law to pay back the loan as quickly as possible.

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January 1 marks major deadline for North Carolina E-Verify law

by Richard L. Rainey

North Carolina’s law requiring employers and local governments to use the federal E-Verify system when hiring new employees is taking effect in phases. January 1 is the next effective date.

The requirement to use E-Verify begins January 1 for employers with at least 100 but fewer than 500 employees in North Carolina. For employers with at least 25 but fewer than 100 employees in North Carolina, the requirement will start on July 1. Employers with 500 or more North Carolina employees had to begin using the system on October 1, 2012.

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New E-Verify Requirements Going into Effect in North Carolina

September 19, 2011 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

By Richard L. Rainey

A new North Carolina state law soon will require use of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) E-Verify system to check if workers are legally entitled to work in the United States.

Under the new law, signed by Governor Bev Perdue on June 23, all employers in North Carolina that employ 25 or more workers eventually will be required to use the system. The new law will take effect at different times based on an employer’s size and type: read more…

North Carolina: No Housecleaning in “Purple” State

November 04, 2010 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Richard L. Rainey, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC

The “throw the bums out” wave that was prevalent in many states was a mere ripple in North Carolina. Incumbents on both sides of the aisle held onto their seats in all of the congressional contests except one — in House District Two, where Republican Renee Ellmers defeated Democrat incumbent Bob Etheridge in a close race.

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