AN ACT TO PROTECT ALL NORTH CAROLINIANS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN ALL WALKS OF LIFE AND TO REPEAL HOUSE BILL 2, AS ENACTED DURING THE 2016 SECOND EXTRA SESSION OF THE 2015 GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
Identical to H 82, filed 2/9/17.
Part I. HB2 Repeal
Repeals SL 2016-3 (Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, commonly known as House Bill 2) and SL 2016-99 (Restore State Claim for Wrongful Discharge, which amended House Bill 2).
Part II. Housing
Amends GS 41A-4, which delineates unlawful discriminatory housing practices, to refer to the protected status of another person as the basis for unlawful discrimination instead of listing specific protected classes (currently, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicapping condition, or familial status). Adds protected status to the defined terms in GS 41A-3 and defines the term to mean a person's race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veteran status, or genetic information. Makes conforming changes to use a person's protected status language to replace specific classes of persons throughout GS 41A-4 and GS 41A-5 (concerning proof of a violation of GS 41A-4).
Amends GS 41A-6, which exempts from GS 41A-4 (except for subdivision (a)(6)) religious institutions and organizations operated by religions institutions or organizations that give preference to members of the same religion in a real estate transaction, so long as membership in that religion is not restricted by a protected status, other than religion (previously, specified race, color, sex, national origin, handicapping condition or familial status).
Part III. Employment
Amends GS 143-422.2 to establish that it is the public policy of the State to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all persons to seek, obtain and hold employment without discrimination or abridgment on account of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marital status, familial status, military or veteran status, or genetic information (previously, only protected race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap) by employers which regularly employ one or more employees (was, 15 or more employees).
Makes conforming changes to expand employment protections to those same classes added to GS 143-422.2 by this act, to GS 126.16 (Equal opportunity for employment and compensation by State departments and agencies and local political subdivisions) and GS 126-34.02(b) (concerning the appeal process for agency employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation issues to be heard as contested cases).
Part IV. Public Accommodations
Enacts Article 49B to GS Chapter 143, Access to Public Accommodations, to be known as the Equal Access to Public Accommodations Act. Provides a legislative declaration that it is the public policy of the State to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all individuals within the State to enjoy fully and equally the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of places of public accommodation free of discrimination because of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marital status, familial status, military or veteran status, or genetic information.
Establishes that it is not discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for a public accommodation to provide separate bathrooms or changing facilities based on gender. Mandates places of accommodation to provide access to facilities based on a person's gender identity. Defines places of public accommodation to have the same meaning as defined in GS 168A-3(8), but excludes any private club or other establishment that is not in fact open to the public.
Authorizes the Human Relations Commission (Commission) in the Department of Administration to receive, investigate, and conciliate complaints of discrimination in public accommodations, and directs the Commission to effect an amicable resolution. Provides that in the event the Commission cannot effect an amicable resolution of the charges of discrimination, the complainant and the Commission can proceed with an enforcement action in accordance with GS 41A-7 (State Fair Housing Act enforcement provisions).
Enacts GS 75-43 to prohibit discrimination by any person engaged in any form of lending money in this State, or to residents of this State, in the extension of credit on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veteran status, or genetic information. Allows complainants concerning violations of this statute to file a grievance with the Human Relations Commission. Directs the Commission to effect an amicable resolution, and in the event the Commission cannot effect an amicable resolution, the complainant and the Commission can proceed with an enforcement action in accordance with GS 41A-7, as similarly provided in GS 143-422.13 enacted by this act. Makes a violation of this statute an unfair trade practice in violation of GS 75-1.1.
Part VI. Insurance
Amends GS 58-3-25 to prohibit discriminatory practices by insurers because of an individual's race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, military or veteran status, or genetic information (previously, only protected race, color, national or ethnic origin).
Part VIII. Human Relations Commission
Amends GS 143B-391 by expanding the North Carolina Human Relations Commission’s duties to also include administering the provisions of the new Equal Access to Public Accommodations Act; GS 143-422.3 (concerning investigating charges of discrimination received from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission); GS 143-422.13 (concerning investigating complaints of discrimination in public accommodations); GS 75-43 (concerning investigating discrimination by lenders); GS 115C-47(64) (concerning investigating discrimination by a local board of education or school personnel); GS 115C-218.55 (concerning investigating discrimination by a charter school); GS 115C-562.5 (concerning investigating discrimination by a nonpublic school); GS 115D-77 (concerning investigating discrimination by a community college); and GS 116-11 (concerning investigating discrimination by the UNC system).
Part IX. Appropriation
Appropriates $788,076 in recurring funds from the General Fund to the Department of Administration, Human Relations Commission for 2017‑18. Requires that $545,407 from those funds be used for operating expenses, and $242,669 be used to fund four specified new positions. Effective July 1, 2017.
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