NC HB 2 Impacts First Discrimination Cases

Law not just affecting LGBT community

CHARLOTTE, NC — The controversial House Bill 2 is impacting the first discrimination cases in Mecklenburg County.

Representative Dan Bishop wrote the bill to counteract Charlotte City Council’s decision to add the LGBT community to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance.

He wrote the bill to keep people who are transgender out of bathrooms that don’t match the gender on their birth certificates.

The law also takes away anyone’s right to sue a business for discrimination on the state level.

Now, Arcangela Mazzariello is one of the first people affected by the change.

“The law does not work!” said Mazzariello.

She’s not lesbian or transgender. She’s affected by HB2 because shes a woman.

She is filing a claim against her former employer saying the boss fired her because of her gender.

A former attorney herself, she realized the new law forces her to take the case to federal court because house bill two took away the right to sue on the state level.

“So, she’s lost important rights,” said her attorney Mathew Flatow. “And it hurts her employer because it can be resolved without going federal. Now, we’re in a situation where there’s no choice.”

Flatow says this change could affect up to 17 of his clients alone.

“I think it’s going to hurt everybody,” said Flatow.

In state court, you had three years to file discrimination claims or settle.

You have just 180 days to file in the federal system.

Then, the process can take years and more money.

Attorneys say companies do not typically settle federal cases, hoping you give up.

A case is also public record when it goes through the federal system.

Attorneys argue future employers can see if you’ve filed against someone. That could affect your ability to get a job. You can see if a company has been accused of discrimination, affecting its ability to attract new workers.

WCCB Charlotte reached out to the company Mazzariello is suing. No one returned calls for comment. We aren’t releasing the company’s name because a judge has not ruled on the case.

WCCB Charlotte talked to Rep. Bishop on the phone Monday.

He declined our request for an interview, saying he’s tired of talking about the issue.

“If everybody North Carolina doesn’t stand up and say, ‘Are you insane?’ This is an election-year!” said Mazzariello. “I hope North Carolina is paying attention because they can fix this.”