North Carolina’s controversial transgender bill irks CROs

North Carolina sign

North Carolina is a known hub for CROs, with big hitters including INC and Quintiles residing in the state. But recently enacted LGBT laws that are seen as discriminatory have not been welcomed by the research community.

NC’s new state laws--which essentially bar transgender people from using public restrooms that match their gender identity and also prohibits cities from passing antidiscrimination ordinances that protect gay and transgender people--have come under attack from politicians and many in the media.

A New York Times op-ed by signed by the entire editorial board said the NC officials had passed an “appalling, unconstitutional bill” when House Bill 2 became law last month, while Democrat presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both took to Twitter to denounce the new rules.

Speaking to FierceCRO, both INC and Quintiles have pledged to maintain their culture of openness despite the new laws.

Anne Tinker, senior VP of human resources at Raleigh, NC-based INC, said: “INC is proud of its professional and congenial work environment.  Our policies, practices and programs support the goal of creating a workplace of inclusion where all employees can expect to be treated--and are expected to treat each other--with courtesy, respect and professionalism.

“North Carolina House Bill 2 does not change our perspective or practices. We expect all employees to adhere to and support our company’s dedication to inclusion, professionalism, non-discrimination and non-harassment.”

Meanwhile, Durham, NC-headquartered Quintiles explained: “It’s important to Quintiles that North Carolina be perceived as a welcoming state and a good place to work. Like many other leading global companies, we follow an anti-discrimination policy that is inclusive. This bill doesn’t change our practices in North Carolina or any other state. Quintiles believes that our diverse workforce is part of what makes us a successful and admired company.”

This follows denouncements against HB2 from a number of firms working in the state, including Bank of America, American Airlines, Time Warner Cable and Lowes.

And on top of this, a group of NC endocrinology docs has submitted a petition to Gov. Pat McCrory calling for reconsideration of HB2.

The petition, signed by 20 physicians, states that the law is “flawed from a medical standpoint.”

The petition said: “A law that defines biological sex as ‘the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate’ is inherently flawed and potentially harmful to a group of children that we care for in our pediatric practices.”

The endocrinologists added that they have provided services to babies who cannot be assigned a sex at birth for medical reasons.

 - read the NY Times op-ed