EXPAND HUMAN RELATIONS COMMN. EEOC AUTHORITY.

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 835 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 16, 2019
AN ACT TO DIRECT THE HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION TO SEEK EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY STATUS AS A FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE AGENCY PURSUANT TO TITLE VII OF THE FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964.
Intro. by Floyd.

Status: Ref to the Com on Appropriations, General Government, if favorable, Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House action) (Apr 18 2019)
H 835

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Apr 16 2019 - More information

    Repeals GS 143-422.3, which grants the Human Relations Commission of the Department of Administration the authority to receive, investigate, and conciliate charges of discrimination from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    Enacts new GS 143-422.4 to designate the Human Relations Commission (Commission) as the state's deferral agency for cases deferred by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to the Commission as provided in Section 706 of 42 USC 2000e-5 (Civil Rights Act of 1964) for charges filed by an employee of an employer that regularly employs 15 or more employees. Directs and authorizes the Commission to contract with the EEOC to serve as a deferral agency and to carry out the functions of a deferral agency. Provides that a deferral charge under the contract is a charge that is filed by a person employed and alleges an unlawful employment practice prohibited under federal law. Provides that a deferred charge may be filed with the Commission or the EEOC. Sets forth that the date a deferred charge is filed with either agency is considered to be the commencement of proceedings under State law and for purposes of 42 USC 2000e-5(c) and (d). Establishes that the standards of confidentiality by federal statute or regulation for discrimination charges apply to deferred cases heard by the Commission. Clarifies that nothing in this statute is to be construed as limiting the authority of any federal agency to act under any federal statute or regulation. Establishes that this statute does not apply to charges filed by State or local government employees covered under GS Chapter 126.

    Enacts GS 143-422.5 to provide the process for a person who claims to have been injured by an unlawful discriminatory employment action to file a complaint with the Commission. Requires the Director of the Commission to serve the respondent with a copy of the complaint and a notice of all procedural rights and obligations under Article 49A of GS Chapter 143. Requires a complaint to be filed within 180 days after the date the alleged unlawful discriminatory employment action occurred. Provides that a respondent may file an answer to the complaint within 10 days after receiving a copy of the complaint. Allows complaints and answers to be amended with leave of the Commission. Requires the Commission to dismiss untimely complaints. Prohibits filing of a complaint during any period in which the Commission is not authorized to act as a deferral agency as provided in 42 USC 2000e-5. 

    Allows for complaints to be resolved at any time by informal procedure. Provides that nothing said or done in informal procedures may be made public by the Commission or used as evidence in a subsequent proceeding under Article 49A of GS Chapter 143 without written consent of the person concerned. 

    Requires the Commission to start an investigation of the complaint within 30 days of its filing, and requires the Commission to make a determination within 90 days of the filing as to whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that an unlawful discriminatory employment action has occurred. Authorizes the Commission to commence a civil action for appropriate temporary or preliminary relief pending final disposition of a complaint in certain circumstances. Requires the Commission to dismiss the complaint and issue a complainant a right-to-sue letter entitling the complainant to bring the civil action in superior court if the Commission finds no reasonable grounds to believe that an unlawful discriminatory employment action has occurred or is about to occur.

    Directs the Commission to proceed to try to resolve the dispute by informal procedure if the Commission finds reasonable grounds to believe that an unlawful discriminatory employment action has occurred or is about to occur. Sets out requirements for any conciliation agreements arising out of conciliation efforts by the Commission. Requires the Commission to notify the parties in writing that conciliation efforts have failed if the Commission is unable to resolve the allegations set forth in the complaint.

    Allows a complainant to make a written request to the Commission for a right-to-sue letter within 10 days following receipt of a notice of reconciliation failure or after 130 days following the filing of a complaint if the Commission has not issued a notice of reconciliation failure. Requires a civil action brought pursuant to subsection (f) or (i) to be commenced within one year after the right-to-sue letter is issued. Provides relief and damages the court may grant in a civil action. Alternatively to a civil action brought under subsection (j), if the complainant does not request a right-to-sue letter after receipt of a notice of conciliation failure, the complainant, respondent, or the Commission can elect to have the claims and issues asserted in the reasonable grounds determination in a civil action commenced and maintained by the Commission, as specified. Provides relief and damages the court may grant in a civil action brought under subsection (k).

    Sets forth the procedure for the Office of Administrative Hearings to designate an administrative law judge to preside over the hearing of the case where the Commission has issued a notice of conciliation failure and the complainant does not request a right-to-sue letter and no election for a civil action is made pursuant to subsection (k). Sets the parameters for cases heard by an administrative law judge under this statute, and sets forth relief that may be granted and penalties that may be assessed against the respondent. Provides for a right to judicial review of a final agency decision following a hearing. 

    Provides that the Commission or party entitled to relief may file a certified copy of the Commission's final order with the clerk of superior court in the county where the unlawful discriminatory employment action occurred if within 30 days after service on the parties of the Commission's order no party has petitioned for judicial review. Directs the clerk to enter an order enforcing the Commission's final order upon receipt of that filing.

    Effective January 1, 2020. 

    Appropriates $788,076 from the General Fund to the Human Relations Commission for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years. Requires funding four new personnel positions, as specified. Effective July 1, 2019.


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