Under the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act, it is the public policy of the state to protect and safeguard the right of all persons to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination based on biological sex (NC Gen. Stat. Sec. 143-422.2 ). The term “biological sex” is defined as the physical condition of being male or female, as stated on a person’s birth certificate. The Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Public employees. State law requires state government employers to provide equal opportunity in employment and compensation to all qualified individuals without regard to sex (NC Gen. Stat. Sec. 126-16). An Executive Order (EO) prohibits discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in state government employment based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity (EO 93 (4/12/16)).
Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception. Generally, an employer is permitted to make an employment decision based on a protected characteristic if the characteristic is a BFOQ for the position in question. For example, being female is a BFOQ for modeling women's clothing. Such situations are extremely rare, however, and employers should be cautious about using such grounds when making employment decisions.
Employment practices that discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions may constitute sex discrimination under the Equal Employment Practices Act.