Letter writer: HB2 affects employee rights and more

Graphic by Lori Deaton

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



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17 thoughts on “Letter writer: HB2 affects employee rights and more

  1. boatrocker

    Yea, HB2 is state sanctioned discrimination no matter how you slice it.

    Let us not forget that under NC law, one can also deny service to someone based on their political beliefs as the poor broken down driver discovered when she was refused service for having a Bernie sticker on her car.

    Therefore, I would implore local business owners to refuse service to:

    -anyone wearing a cross, whether as jewelry, clothing, etc.
    -anyone wearing an American flag , whether as pins, clothing, tattoos, etc. for improperly displaying it.
    -any active duty or retired military- tell them you’re a Jehovah’s Witness and do not support taking oaths of allegiance.
    -any law enforcement officers, active or retired. Tell them your religion or lack of takes precedence over federal, state or county laws.
    – anyone with a Trump hat-this one is self explanatory- tell them you object to fascism.
    -anyone with a t shirt that features a jam band logo on it- because we all hate noise pollution.

    Who’s with me?

    Ohhhh, crickets. Apparently Ashevillians value the almighty dollar more than their ideals.

  2. Giordano Bruno

    Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, made a prescient comment on the new moral reality in an article in the Wall Street Journal in 2011, warning, “A tsunami of wishful thinking has washed across the West saying that you can have sex without the responsibility of marriage, children without the responsibility of parenthood, social order without the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without the responsibility of morality and self-esteem without the responsibility of work and earned achievement.”

    • Huhsure

      Prescient? Or intransigently narrow-minded and bigoted? You say to-MAY-to…

      • The Real World

        Presto, Bingo!
        Right on cue ……. Huhsure provides a direct example of what the Rabbi perceptively recognized.

        • Huhsure

          Don’t like me calling the Rabbi’s words narrow minded and bigoted? Sorry. He sounds like he shipwrecked in the 1930’s and never made it back to the mainland. Poor fella.

          • Ken Hanke

            One could just as easily call the responses from Mr. Bruno and The Real World predictable.

          • Peter Robbins

            He sounds like he’s describing the Republican Party’s dream nominee.

          • Giordano Bruno

            Your opinion of Rabbi Sacks makes no difference to the Rabbi or myself. I do wish you had taken even the 20 seconds necessary to do even a little Wikipedia-level of research of the man and his life. Your ignorance as evidenced by your responses is extreme. I’m not calling it anti-Semitic bigotry and hatred per se, others may not be so generous, but I do believe it is just your general ignorance and lack of intellectual curiosity that caused you to think the thoughts that you have committed for posterity to the internet….sad really, but maybe not a completely hopeless case?

          • Huhsure

            Why that’s mighty big of you, GB.

            What will Mr. Sacks do with that $250000 from the Bradley Foundation?

            And he gets his prize from none other than George Will, Mr. LivesInThePast himself! Oh, man, that’s just too perfect!

    • Giordano Bruno

      Do you believe the “Reverends” Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and William Barber are not to be taken seriously either due to their religious titles and/or affiliations? Can you truly be that broadly narrow-minded against people of faith or does your hypocrisy only go so far?

      • bsummers

        I was just musing about the incongruity of a religious scholar who allows himself to be called “Lord”. But you can twist that into an attack on me if you want.

  3. The Real World

    Sigh — still adapting to small town life……and minds. It’s going to take awhile.

    Y’all should travel more and think bigger. Both only provide rewards and no regrets.

    But, oops wait, look….some master manipulators from up East have engineered another “horrifying problem du jour”. We must stop everything, massively freak-out, do and think whatever the masters tell us is best…….because it’s our religion. Good little soldiers/acolytes. Now time for bed as there will be new fake battles to fight tomorrow. Nighty-night.

  4. The Real World

    Hey people/soldiers – here’s the sh&t you all should actually be worried about.

    A PROVISION SNUCK INTO the still-secret text of the Senate’s annual intelligence authorization would give the FBI the ability to demand individuals’ email data and possibly web-surfing history from their service providers without a warrant and in complete secrecy.

    And, didn’t you notice how we had no Federal budget brawl late last year? Suspicious, indeed. When both parties pass a budget so easily is when you better be worried what’s in it. Here’s one slippery item they didn’t want us paying too much attention to: https://www.wired.com/2015/12/congress-slips-cisa-into-omnibus-bill-thats-sure-to-pass/

    WAKE UP!

  5. bsummers

    A PROVISION SNUCK INTO the still-secret text of the Senate’s annual intelligence authorization…

    You fail to mention by who. The Committee’s Chairman, Sen. Richard Burr(R) from the Great State of North Carolina, is cited as the most likely culprit. Probably the only reason you know about this is because Ron Wyden blew the whistle.

    But let me guess – you’ll still vote for Burr, won’t you?

  6. The Real World

    Sen. Richard Burr — chuckling b/c I don’t even know who that is. I only vote for moderates of either party (as best I can determine them given how slimey politicians are in general) so if he doesn’t fit that bill, I wouldn’t vote for him.

    I also don’t engage in the good cop / bad cop nonsense. That was my point, actually. That both parties, in collusion, are stripping our liberties away while they take advantage of, or manufacture, the “horrifying problem du jour” that distracts most people.

    When we lose our rights, we will be very, very hard-pressed to get them back!

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