Bill Summaries: H835 (2021)

  • Summary date: May 4 2021 - View summary

    Enacts Article 17 to GS Chapter 126 as follows. States that is is against public policy for any State employee to mistreat a contract employee, defined as an employee of a private third-party employer who is assigned to work in a State government workplace or on a State-controlled project. Defines a private third-party employer as a nongovernmental entity that employs at least two employees and has a contract with the State to furnish employees to a State entity to perform personal services in a State government workplace or on a State-controlled project. Charges the supervisor in a State government workplace with taking reasonable steps to prevent such mistreatment.

    Establishes four protected activities of contract employees for which State employees are prohibited from taking or causing a private third-party employer to initiate an adverse action (defined by an exhaustive list of nine actions) against the contract employee for doing, including (1) making a complaint or providing information in good faith to State or federal Department of Labor regarding possible labor violations by the private third-party employer or by a State entity, and (2) complaining about workplace bullying, as defined, in a State government workplace or in a connection with a State-controlled project. Subjects State employees in violation of this prohibition to disciplinary action that is permitted to include termination from employment. Establishes identical protected activities of contract employees for which private third-party employers are prohibited from taking action against a contract employee in retaliation for the contract employee for doing.

    Requires the NC Department of Labor to investigate alleged violations; authorizes civil penalties against a private third-party employer ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 per violation. Bars private-third party employers found to have violated the statute from contracting with State entities for five years. Also establishes a cause of action for contract employees to bring against private third-party employers for a violation; sets a two year statute of limitations. Allows for a court to order reinstatement, back pay, or other appropriate relief, and requires ordering attorneys' fees and litigations costs.

    Defines the scope of the Article to include all State employees, regardless of exemption from the State Human Resources Act. Charges private third-party employers and State employers  with posting notice to keep employees informed of the rights and obligations set forth in the Article. Specifies that the Article's rights, obligations, procedures, and relief are in addition to that provided in other state laws. Directs the Department of Labor and the State Human Resources Commission to collaborate and each adopt implementing rules.