Governor Roy Cooper today signed Executive Order No. 24, to promote diversity and prohibit discrimination in government agencies and government contracts in an effort to make North Carolina a welcoming place to all.
The order prohibits discrimination in his administration on the grounds of race, color, ethnicity, sex, National Guard or veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression in employment, and it also requires those doing business with the state to do the same.
Also today Cooper and cabinet secretaries who were defendants in the Carcaño lawsuit submitted a consent decree with the plaintiffs to the US District Court in Greensboro. If approved by a judge the settlement would resolve a lawsuit that had challenged provisions in HB 142.
“Earlier this year, I said there was more work to do to protect against discrimination and make North Carolina a welcoming state,” Cooper said. “Today’s executive order and consent decree are important steps toward fighting discrimination and enacting protections throughout state government and across our state.”
The order states that no state agency, board, commission or department under jurisdiction of the Governor will discriminate, in employment, provision of services, or awarding of contracts of grants. It directs his state agencies and departments to implement policies to afford equal opportunity in hiring and requires agencies and departments to develop internal dispute procedures for anyone who is discriminated against or harassed based on their identity. Cooper’s Office of State Human Resources and Department of Administration will take the lead in developing these orders. North Carolina executive agencies employ 55,000 people.
The Executive Order also directs the Department of Administration to develop guidance that will require certain companies that have contracts with the state to implement similar non-discrimination policies. North Carolina executive agencies contract with more than 3,000 vendors who employ thousands of people, and this executive order could impact up to $1.5 billion worth of contracts.
“By requiring companies that contract with the state to have non-discrimination policies, the state can promote protections for more North Carolinians outside of state government,” Cooper said. “We’ve worked with the business community, advocates for the LGBT community and other North Carolinians who know our state is stronger because of our diversity, and I will keep working to make our state a welcoming and inclusive place.”
For a fact sheet on today’s executive order, please click HERE.
The Carcaño consent decree submitted to the court states that under HB 142, a law Cooper signed earlier this year to repeal HB2, “transgender people are not prevented from the use of public facilities in accordance with their gender identity.”
A consent decree is an agreement that resolves a dispute between two parties. The executive branch defendants named in the lawsuit inherited from the previous administration include Department of Administration Secretary Machelle Sanders, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, and Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon, all of whom are included with the plaintiffs on the consent decree.
“For too many reasons, it is not in our state’s best interest to remain in drawn-out court battles that still linger because of HB2,” said Cooper. “As a state, we need to work together to make North Carolina more welcoming, and I am pleased that we could come together with the other party in this case to show that we agree.”
For an electronic copy of the consent decree submitted to the court, please click HERE.