A law designed to discourage workplace whistleblower activity in North Carolina, signed into law last session over a veto by Gov. Pat McCrory, has landed in federal court in Greensboro with the filing today of a lawsuit by a collection of groups alleging violations of freedom of speech and freedom of the press protections set forth in the U.S. and state constitutions.
The “ag-gag” law, so dubbed because as originally drafted it sought to protect the agriculture industry, holds individuals who gain access to nonpublic areas of a workplace for unrelated work purposes, and take property, record images or obtain information, liable to the employer.
The groups challenging the law include the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Center for Food Safety, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, Food and Water Watch, and the Government Accountability Project.
Together they’ve sued both Attorney General Roy Cooper and University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt to block enforcement of the law.
With respect to Folt, PETA contends that it has conducted undercover investigations at UNC-Chapel Hill animal laboratories and would continue to do so as part of an ongoing investigation into abuse there, but for the liability now imposed under the new law.
Read the complaint here.