Target: Patricia Shiu, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance
Goal: Investigate anti-LGBT discrimination at the University of North Carolina.
The University of North Carolina President is doubling down on anti-LGBT sentiment in the state with a memorandum to the school’s chancellors indicating that the university would comply with North Carolina’s discriminatory new law. Specifically, she instructed university institutions to designate all multi-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities as single sex and to publicize state legislation that bars transgender people from accessing gender-appropriate facilities. While, as Spellings notes, the school is “required to fulfill its obligations under the law unless or until the court directs otherwise,” engaging in state-mandated discrimination seems to place the University of North Carolina in violation of federal regulations.
Investigation by The Washington Blade reveals that the University of North Carolina is a federal contractor that has won contracts worth over $10,000 for each of the past six years. Those contracts bring the University of North Carolina and its workplace policies under the purview of President Obama’s recent executive order prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors.
The Washington Blade also reports that,, the University of North Carolina may violate the federal civil rights act of 1964 and Title IX protections, which are currently understood as extending to transgender people. The President of Freedom to Work, Tico Almeida, told The Washington Blade that those violations allow the Department of Labor to investigate proactively because executive orders “enable the Office of Federal Contract Compliance to investigate federal contractors without the filing of any complaint beforehand.”
Discrimination must have consequences. Tell the Department of Labor to investigate anti-LGBT discrimination at the University of North Carolina and to hold the school accountable for any violations of non-discrimination protections.
Dear Patricia Shiu,
As you are doubtless aware, North Carolina has enacted legislation designed to expose gender and sexual minorities to discrimination and to reject the existence of transgender people. As a consequence of that legislation, the University of North Carolina is updating its policies to comply with discriminatory mandates.
Margarete Spellings, the university president, issued a memo that instructs university institutions to designate all multi-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities as single sex and to publicize state legislation which bars transgender people from accessing gender-appropriate facilities. The Washington Blade reports that those measures may place the university in violation of numerous federal regulations, and challenges to the state law are advancing even now on those grounds.
However, your department has a unique mandate to proactively investigate discrimination at the University of North Carolina that arises from the school’s status as a federal contractor. Investigation by The Washington Blade found that in 2015 the University of North Carolina won over $13,000 in federal contracts, making the school subject to regulation under Obama’s executive order prohibiting federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT discrimination.
We urge you to use that regulatory authority. We urge you to ensure that there are consequences for discrimination. We urge you to protect the people of North Carolina from government mandated discrimination.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: William Yeung