The focus on discrimination against LGB and, notably, trans persons in the wake of the passage of North Carolina HB2 (the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act) may be to miss the portions of the bill that affect a greater segment of the people of North Carolina. People who support HB2 solely on the basis of their belief that LGBT people should have no equal protection under the law might want to take a look at HB2 again (or for the first time, as many are informed of legislation solely by the media and hearsay).
HB2 restricts local governments from initiating their own living-wage ordinances except as applies to city or county employees. So if the city of Asheville or Buncombe County wants to ensure for the well-being of the greater working force (grocery clerks, construction flag persons, delivery drivers, janitors, etc.) by raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, they are now prohibited from doing so by this legislation. Also, the city or county may not refuse to contract with a company that discriminates against or underpays its own employees.
Do you want your local government to enact or maintain ordinances that establish family-leave policies, protections for children, standards for health insurance, or policies that place limits on how long an employer can make you work without a break? Well, HB2 robs your local representatives of the option to create such protections.
Now get this: If your employer fires you because of your race, religion, national origin or sex, under this legislation, you no longer have any remedy to sue an employer through appealing to North Carolina state courts. You must now sue your employer in federal court, and you have much less time to file a complaint (180 days) than you used to have when suing an employer in a state court.
Less time to sue, more costs for filing lawsuits and a much lower cap on damages. Read this, Christian people, this includes you! If an owner of a downtown Asheville clothing shop hires you, but then finds out you are a fundamentalist Christian, while the owner is a pagan (or atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, humanist, liberal Christian, etc.) who takes umbrage with your views, they can fire you, and your only recourse will be to take out a federal lawsuit and pray. This legislation negatively impacts the well-being of all North Carolinians.
I encourage everyone to read the actual legislation, expand the debate, and if you are against this legislation or just want to become more informed, then access portals such as the North Carolina Justice Center website (www.ncjustice.org) and NC Policy Watch (www.ncpolicywatch.com).
— Dan Waterman