NC revokes 'bathroom bill,' bars cities from employment lawmaking until 2020


Dive Brief:


  • North Carolina revoked its law requiring transgender public workers to use the bathroom facilities that coincide with the gender on their birth certificate, says SHRM. While repealing H.B. 2, the state is barring municipalities from drafting any new workplace laws until 2020.
  • Both chambers in the state legislature voted to revoke the law, and the governor signed it. The revocation not only preempts the barring of local bathroom access or laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation; it also preempts local wage-and-hour and minimum wage laws and ban-the-box ordinances until Dec. 1, 2020.
  • H.B. 2’s repeal doesn’t affect private-sector workplaces, but private-sector employers had partly lead the charge for its repeal.

Dive Insight:

In early 2016, the U.S. Justice Department under the Obama administration declared North Carolina's "bathroom bill" violated civil rights law. The bill's original passage brought a slew of responses from private employers in the state as well, who threatened to leave or reconsider placing businesses in the state. 

But more broadly, a tug-of-war seems to have broken out and escalated between mostly red states and local governments across the country over workplace laws. Preemption law somewhat favors the employer, as it ensures some level of compliance simplicity throughout a single state for at least some time. These continue to spread throughout the country, particularly in response to cities passing new wage or paid leave laws in states that have struggled to do the same.

Atypical stands by lawmakers and local councils might be confusing for businesses caught in the middle, but employers that maintain internal policies that are fair and protect workers’ rights are following best business practices.


By: Valerie Bolden-Barrett