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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 6, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 19
Do not enforce anti-Trans law, DOJ warns North Carolina
Section One
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Do not enforce anti-Trans law, DOJ warns North Carolina

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has warned North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory that his states infamous HB 2 violates federal civil rights laws.

In an official letter to the governor, DOJ gave state authorities until May 9 to address the problem by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB 2.

The controversial measure repealed local protections for Charlottes LGBT community, prohibited municipalities from passing new civil rights protections, and also barred them from raising the minimum wage.

In the DOJ letter, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta notified Gov. McCrory that The Department of Justice has determined that, as a result of compliance with and implementation of NC House Bill 2, both you and the state of NC are in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964...

Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual on the basis of sex and from otherwise resisting the full enjoyment of Title VII rights...

Federal courts and administrative agencies have applied Title VII to discrimination against transgender individuals based on sex, including gender identity...

Access to sex-segregated restrooms and other workplace facilities consistent with gender identity is a term, condition, or privilege of employment. Denying such access to transgender individuals, whose gender identity is different from the gender assigned at birth, while affording it to similarly situated non-transgender employees, violates Title VII...

HB 2...is facially discriminatory against transgender employees on the basis of sex because it treats transgender employees, whose gender identity does not match their biological sex, as defined by HB 2, differently from similarly situated non transgender employees...

Based upon the above, we have concluded that in violation of Title VII, the state is engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of Title VII rights by employees of public agencies...

Please advise the department, therefore, no later than the close of business on May 9, 2016, whether you will remedy these violations of Title VII, including by confirming that the state will not comply with or implement HB2...

We further inform you that that today the department sent letters addressed to the NC Department of Public Safety and the University of NC similarly notifying them of our conclusion that they have engaged in violations of Title VII as well as violations of Title IX.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act deals with workplace discrimination and would prevent employers from making Trans workers use inappropriate restrooms. Title IX of the Education Amendments says that schools receiving federal money - which includes most public schools in the United States - may not discriminate against Transgender students.

If North Carolina does not comply with DOJs demand to stop enforcing HB 2, federal attorneys may seek an injunction ordering the state to halt enforcement. State officials would then be liable to contempt of court proceedings if they continued to implement the law.

DOJ could also file a brief siding with private plaintiffs seeking to block the law from being enforced.

Before working at DOJ, Vanita Gupta was a civil rights attorney and Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU.

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