North Carolina Municipalities Pass Anti-Discrimination Ordinances

Brooks Pierce
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Brooks Pierce

On Dec. 1, 2020, the provision of North Carolina House Bill 142 that preempted municipalities from passing non-discrimination ordinances expired. Since then, municipalities across North Carolina have passed anti-discrimination ordinances aimed to protect certain groups of people from discrimination in three main areas: employment, housing, and public accommodations. Below is a summary of the ordinances that have been passed between Dec. 1, 2020 and Feb. 17, 2021. Because certain subjects can only be regulated by the North Carolina General Assembly on a broad scale, it is unclear whether, if challenged, any of these local anti-discrimination ordinances will be construed as unconstitutional local acts.

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Municipality Employment Housing Public Accommodations Enforcement
Chapel Hill Prohibits discrimination by an employer (i.e., any person employing 1+ persons within the town and anyone acting on such a person’s behalf) on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, national ancestry, marital status, familial status, pregnancy, veteran status, religion, religious belief or non-belief, age, and disability. n/a

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, national ancestry, marital status, familial status, pregnancy, veteran status, religion, religious belief or non-belief, age, and disability.

Violators may be subject to an enforcement action brought by the town under G.S. § 160A-175(d) and (e) for an appropriate equitable remedy, including but not limited to a mandatory or prohibitory injunction plus all other remedies available under state or federal law.

Carrboro Prohibits discrimination by an employer (i.e., any person employing 1+ persons within the town and anyone acting on such a person’s behalf) on the basis of race, natural hair or hairstyles, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ancestry, marital or familial status, pregnancy, veteran status, religious belief or non-belief, age, and disability. n/a

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, natural hair or hairstyles, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ancestry, marital or familial status, pregnancy, veteran status, religious belief or non-belief, age, and disability.

Violators are guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor under G.S. § 14-4(a) and will be fined $500.00 for each day discrimination occurs. Violators may also be subject to an enforcement action brought by the town under G.S. § 160A-175(d) and (e) for an appropriate equitable remedy, including but not limited to a mandatory or prohibitory injunction plus all other remedies available under state or federal law.

Durham Prohibits discrimination by an employer (i.e., any person employing 1+ persons within the city and anyone acting on such person’s behalf) on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, familial status, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or protected hairstyle.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, familial status, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or protected hairstyle.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, familial status, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and protected hairstyle.

Violators are guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor under G.S. § 14-4(a) and will be fined $500.00 for each day discrimination occurs. Violators may also be subject to an enforcement action brought under G.S. § 160A-175(d) and (e) for an appropriate equitable remedy, including but not limited to a mandatory or prohibitory injunction plus all other remedies available under state or federal law.
Greensboro

Prohibits discrimination by an employer, regardless of size, on the basis of color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity) or race or national origin (including hair texture and hairstyles that are commonly associated with race or national origin).

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity), handicap, familial status, or race or national origin (including hair texture and hairstyles that are commonly associated with race or national origin).

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity), or race or national origin (including hair texture and hairstyles that are commonly associated with race or national origin).

The enforcement provision is still being drafted but is expected to include a civil penalty of $500.

Hillsborough

Prohibits discrimination by an employer (i.e., any person employing 1+ persons within the town and anyone acting on such person’s behalf) on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ancestry, marital or familial status, pregnancy, veteran status, religious belief, age and disability.

n/a

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or

expression, national origin or ancestry, marital or familial status, pregnancy, veteran status, religious belief, age, and disability.

Violators are guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor under G.S. § 14-4(a) and will be fined $500.00 for each day discrimination occurs. Violators may also be subject to an enforcement action brought by the town under G.S. § 160A-175(d) and (e) for an appropriate equitable remedy, including, but not limited to, a mandatory or prohibitory injunction plus all other remedies available under state or federal.
Orange County n/a n/a

Prohibits discrimination because of age, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, familial status, source of income, disability, political affiliation, veteran status, and disabled veteran status.

Violators are subject to enforcement under Sections 12-16 through 12-21, including investigation; referral to Office of Administrative Hearings, which may lead to injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and civil penalties; and judicial review and civil actions.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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