North Carolina’s H.B. 2 was repealed on March 30 after Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill to undo the measure. H.B. 2 requires transgender individuals to use the bathrooms in public buildings that match the gender specified on their birth certificates and has been the subject of controversy since it passed on March 23, 2016.
However, the bill to repeal H.B. 2 does more than just affect the transgender community. It prevents cities and counties across the state from amending all employment law legislation until Dec. 1, 2020. For HR, this means the bill will rub against minimum-wage laws, ban-the-box ordinances, and other labor laws that dictate employment practices in the state of North Carolina.
Ann Smith and Michelle Phillips, attorneys with Jackson Lewis, said the provision “makes compliance with North Carolina laws easier as private employers will not have to worry about local employment laws, which may be different than state laws.”
However, there are drawbacks to limiting the power of cities. Smith and Phillips continue, “Obviously, however, it takes away a local government’s ability to legislate in the employment law and public accommodations arenas.”
HR departments in North Carolina will enjoy a reprieve from some of the complexities caused by multiple state and city labor legislation. However, the potential for workplace tensions may increase between employees who disagree with the repeal and those who don’t. In addition, businesses opposed to control being taken away from local government may chose to leave the state. Becoming aware of the implications of the bill’s repeal will allow HR departments to be better prepared to face the challenges that may come as a result.
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