Workplace discrimination lawsuits much harder under HB2

More expensive and less likely to be resolved:

“For almost 30 years, North Carolinians who have been fired because of their religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability have been able to bring claims in state courts under the common law theory of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy,” Noble said.

“By eliminating employees’ rights to pursue legitimate discrimination claims in N.C. courts, we unnecessarily force our citizens to the federal government and invite excessive federal intrusion into issues that are better handled at the state level,” Noble said.

In tort reform circles, this is a huge deal. North Carolina has joined a very exclusive club blocking discrimination from state courts, one with only Mississippi as a fellow club member. And for those seeking redress from unfair treatment, the journey just got a lot more difficult:

Noble disagrees with the “robust” suggestion, saying that filing a complaint in federal court is twice as costly as state court, more time-consuming in terms of logistical requirements, and likely to have a longer period before a decision.

Federal remedies for compensatory and punitive damages are capped according to employer size, ranging from a combined $50,000 to $200,000. In state court, Noble said, there is no cap on compensatory damages, and punitive damages can be worth up to three times the compensatory damage award.

Federal claims must be filed first with the EEOC, whose due diligence obligations often serve to weed out the majority of lawsuits before they reach federal court.

Noble and Rainey said the EEOC tends to take more than six months to recommend whether to pursue a federal court filing, in part because its three North Carolina offices typically are understaffed. By comparison, Kennedy said it is not uncommon for a discrimination case filed in state court to be completed within eight to 12 months.

Before HB 2 went into effect, individuals had up to three years to file a discrimination lawsuit. An EEOC complaint must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination act.

“Many employees who have been fired do not realize, within 180 days of the termination, that an unlawful discriminatory motive caused their termination,” Noble said.

Every chance they get, NC's Republican leaders take a swipe at the people who are already suffering. It's disgusting and contemptible, and demonstrates better than any other evidence they should not be allowed to continue running our state.

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