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N.C. Settles ‘Bathroom Bill’ Suit, Workplace Bias Claims on Hold

July 23, 2019, 9:27 PM

North Carolina officials are barred from preventing transgender people’s access to public restrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity, under a federal court settlement approved July 23.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the state’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper agreed to resolve litigation that sprang from the state’s 2016 “bathroom bill,” which required transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding with their birth gender.

When it was enacted, the law prompted boycotts of the state by business groups and entertainers who called it discriminatory.

But the settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina doesn’t address provisions of state law that prevent cities and counties from banning employment discrimination against LGBTQ people, according to the ACLU.

Those parts of the litigation have been put on hold, pending the outcome of cases at the U.S. Supreme Court that could settle the question of whether federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature opposed the settlement as an intervening party.

The settlement’s approval came on the same day as the latest court hearing for a former Virginia high school student, Gavin Grimm. The ACLU is suing on Grimm’s behalf to oppose a school district policy that requires transgender students to use private restrooms that are separate from those for other students.

The North Carolina case is Carcano v. Cooper, M.D.N.C., No. 1:16-cv-00236, consent judgment approved 7/23/19

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Marr in Atlanta at cmarr@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com