Ag-Gag Law Takes Away North Carolinians Freedom of Speech
In America we're supposed to have freedom of speech, but in North Carolina, that doesn't seem to matter to politicians. With the passing of the "ag-gag" law, workers can be punished for speaking out on unethical and illegal workplace activities. Big companies, especially the meat packing industry, do things that many people would not approve of, but now will we have whistle-blowers brave enough to come forward?
Ol' Upton -- who spent seven weeks snooping around stockyards to collect his material -- wouldn't get so far today, not in North Carolina. Here, the meatpackers would have sued him for every cent he had and shut him up for good.
The law -- which went into effect Jan. 1 -- allows businesses to sue anyone who slips into factories or other workplaces to obtain secrets or take photographs or videos -- even if those photos or videos show laws being violated.
Our Honorables, however, wrote the law so broadly, it can be used to squash almost any whistle-blowing, inside the livestock industry or out. Others fear that family members or caregivers could be sued for trying to document abuse or neglect in nursing homes, day cares or veterans' facilities.Opponents are in court now, trying to argue that the law violates the state and federal Constitutions' guarantees of free speech. It almost certainly does.