CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) – It’s been exactly one week since state leaders overturned Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance. The political fallout is only getting worse.
HB2 could potentially impact everyone who has a job. Not just the LGBT community.
“What the legislature and the governor did was essentially legalize discrimination under North Carolina law. It’s that simple,” said Joshua Van Kampen.
Van Kampen, an employment attorney in Charlotte, says there’s only one other state in the union – Mississippi – that allows discrimination under state law.
“It is legal in North Carolina for any woman to be terminated because she’s a woman. It is legal to terminate an employee in North Carolina because he’s black or Mexican,” said Van Kampen.
Another labor lawyer across town says that is not true.
“Very simply, employers in North Carolina who have 15 or more employees cannot discriminate against their employees based on a protected class. Hb2 doesn’t change that,” said Adam Bridgers.
Bridgers, who represents employers, says workers are protected under federal law.
“The federal system is very robust in its ability to police these matters and to address discrimination issues,” said Bridgers.
What both attorneys agree on – that has changed – is number one, if you’ve been discriminated against at work; you now only have 180 days to file a lawsuit. Not three years like before.
“I have a client who it took well over two years for him to feel comfortable to come forward and try to protect his rights. As a result of house bill two, he now has no claim because it’s well over the 180 days required by federal law,” said Van Kampen.
But Bridgers says most of his cases are at the federal level anyway.
“Practically, I don’t think it will have that drastic of an effect. Most of the cases we see from the discrimination standpoint come through the title seven system,” said Bridgers.
The second thing that both lawyers agree on has changed is now there’s a cap on how much you can get from your employer in a discrimination lawsuit. The damages cap as low as 50 thousand dollars.