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View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 958 (Public) Filed Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Intro. by Logan, Autry, Harrison, Roberson.

Status: Ref To Com On Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House action) (May 2 2024)
H 958

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: May 1 2024 - View Summary

    Part I.

    Includes legislative findings regarding at-will employment.

    Enacts GS 95-31.1, explicitly abolishing the doctrine of at-will employment in the State and prohibiting terminating an employee without just cause. Includes legislative findings and establishes as public policy of the State that at-will employment is inconsistent with the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in employment contracts.

    Enacts GS 95-25.6A, requiring employers to provide 60-minute paid meal periods for employees scheduled to work more than six continuous hours in a 24-hour period, and at least one paid 15-minute break for all scheduled employees.

    Effective January 1, 2025, amends GS 95-25.3 to prohibit counting tips earned by employees as wages. Deletes provisions which allow tips to be counted as wages, subject to statutory limits and recordkeeping requirements. 

    Enacts GS 95-25.6B, prohibiting an employer from conditioning employment upon an employee refraining from disclosing their wages; requiring an employee sign a waiver prohibiting the employee from disclosing their wages; or taking an employment action or discriminating against an employee for inquiring about, disclosing, comparing, or discussing their or another employee's wages. Includes a legislative finding that employees have a right to disclose and discuss employee wages.

    Amends GS 95-241 to prohibit discriminating or taking retaliatory action against an employee who exercises or threatens to exercise their rights under new GS 95-25.6B so long as the employee acts in good faith.

    Part II.

    Repeals GS 95-98, which declares contracts between units of government and labor unions, trade unions, or labor organizations concerning public employees against public policy, illegal, and void with no effect.

    Adds to the policies and rules the State Human Resources Commission (Commission) must establish pursuant to GS 126-4, now requiring the Commission to delegate authority to an Ombud's Office to provide independent review of State employee workplace complaints and assistance to State employees in resolving workplace issues. Requires that the policy direct the Ombud's Office to establish education programs for State employees about their rights and to train supervisors and employees in appropriate dispute resolution techniques.

    Enacts Article 17, GS Chapter 126, establishing State policy regarding the mistreatment of State government contractors. Establishes a duty of State government supervisors to take all reasonable steps to prevent the mistreatment of contract employees. Prohibits a State employee from making or causing a private third-party employer (private employer) to bring an adverse action against a contract employee in retaliation for making a complaint or providing information in good faith to State or federal labor authorities regarding potential labor law violations by the private employer or a State entity; testifying in any investigation relating to a State government workplace or State-controlled project; exercising any legally protected employee rights; or complaining about workplace bullying in a State government workplace or in connection with a State-controlled project. Enacts substantively similar prohibitions directed at private employers regarding contract employees. Authorizes disciplinary action up to termination for state employees who violate the prohibition. Directs the Department of Labor (DOL) to investigate alleged violations and authorizes the assessment of penalties of $1,000 to $20,000 per violation. Makes private employers found in violation ineligible to contract with any state entity for five years. Establishes a cause of action for contract employees to bring against a private employer for violations of the statute, subject to a two-year statute of limitation. Provides for specified relief, including attorneys' fees, for successful actions by contract employees. Directs the DOL and Commission to jointly develop, publish, and distribute educational and training materials about contract employee rights as described. Makes the Article applicable to all State employees, even those exempt from the State Human Resources Act, GS Chapter 126. Exempts federal contracts from the scope of the Article. Charges private and State employers with giving employees notice of their protections and obligations under the Article. Clarifies that the Article is supplemental to the provisions of Articles 14 of GS Chapter 126 (providing protections for reporting improper government activities) and 21 of GS Chapter 95 (governing retaliatory employment discrimination). Directs the DOL and the Commission to collaborate and independently adopt appropriate implementing rules. Includes four defined terms applicable to the Article.

    Appropriates $180,000 in recurring funds from the General Fund to the Commission for 2024-25 for two new personnel positions to support the establishment of the Ombud's Office created by the act. Appropriates $100,000 in nonrecurring funds from the General Fund to the Commission for 2024-25 to fund enforcement, training, and educational efforts pursuant to new GS 126-101 (in new Article 17) and to combat workplace bullying in State government. Appropriates $77,000 in recurring funds from the General Fund to the DOL for 2024-25 for one new personnel position to conduct investigations under new GS 126-101 (in new Article 17). Effective July 1, 2024.

    Part III.

    Effective retroactively to December 31, 2020, repeals Section 35.21(c) and (d), SL 2017-57, which amended GS 135-48.1 and GS 135-48.40 to limit State Health Plan eligibility for retired teachers, State employees, and legislators who were members of any retirement system supported by State contributions to those who earned contributory retirement service prior to January 1, 2021, who had not withdrawn service, and remain enrolled.

    Part IV.

    Repeals Sections 5.9(a), 5.9(b), and 5.9(c) of SL 2023-134, which amended GS 95-25.1, GS 153A-449, and GS 160A-20.1 to preempt local governments from regulating private employee compensation.

    Enacts identical provisions to GS 153A-463 and GS 160A-499.8, authorizing counties and cities to set a local minimum wage by ordinance.

    Enacts GS 160A-492.1 to authorize local governing bodies to undertake and expend funds for worker safety activities and programs applicable to the field of employment that are equivalent to or greater than State or federal requirements. Further authorizes local governing bodies to appoint worker safety committees, boards, and citizens' committees to carry out the worker safety programs and activities, and includes companion authorities related to establishing committee powers and personnel. Allows for joint city-county programs or activities, and permits expending local tax revenues on such programs and activities. Makes conforming changes to GS 153A-445.

    Appropriates $300,000 in recurring funds from the General Fund to the DOL for 2024-25 for new personnel positions to conduct safety inspections related to local worker safety programs established pursuant to the act. Effective July 1, 2024.