Earlier this year, the Charlotte City Council voted to include additional protected classes in employment to those already included under North Carolina state law. The ordinance, which passed unanimously, takes effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
The new protected classes are sexual orientation, pregnancy, familial status, gender identity and expression, natural hairstyle and veteran status. These will be included with the currently protected statuses of race, religion, age, ethnicity, national origin and disability. The new ordinance applies to businesses of any size, even though state and local non-discrimination laws apply only to those with 15 or more employees.
A reaction to the “Bathroom Bill”
Charlotte is just one of 16 local governments in the state that have voted to expand their protected classes. This has been viewed as a reaction to the state’s notorious “Bathroom Bill” back in 2016, which requires people to use the restroom for the gender that they were at birth rather than their current gender identity. However, restroom access isn’t included in the Charlotte ordinance since it’s governed by state law.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said that “we have this moment where we actually come together and take every part of what our community and residents have asked, and we put it in a statement of values, and a statement of action that’s implementable and accountable.”
Anyone who believes they were discriminated against in hiring or in the workplace based on a protected characteristic can file a complaint through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee (CRC) within 180 days of an incident involving discrimination. It can always help to have experienced legal guidance before filing your complaint or if you believe it isn’t adequately resolved.