Friday, June 05, 2015

North Carolina lawmakers override governor's veto of ag-gag bill that punishes undercover workers

North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday voted to override Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's veto of an ag-gag bill that targets undercover investigations of farms and workplace conditions, Colin Campbell reports for the Charlotte Observer. "The bill will create a recourse in civil court for business owners to sue employees who use their positions to secretly take photographs or shoot video in their workplace. It could also be used to sue workers who steal data, documents or merchandise; it’s aimed at small-time thieves and corporate spies."

The House voted to override the bill by a 79 to 36 count and the Senate by a 32 to 15 count, Campbell writes. Both branches are Republican-controlled. Under the bill, which goes into effect next week, employers could sue for punitive damages of $5,000 a day in addition to compensation for actual damages.

The bill's sponsor Rep. John Szoka (R-Fayetteville) said McCrory’s concerns are unfounded, Campbell writes. Szoka told Campbell. “I don’t want to discourage any good employees of any industry from reporting illegal activities to the proper authorities. I think we can all agree the proper authorities are law enforcement and state and federal regulatory agencies—and not the media and not private special interest organizations.” (Read more)

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