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North Carolina Reinforces Property Protection Law, Giving Employers Right to Sue

The protection of property, be it patient records, financial information, consumer data, merchandise, or intellectual property, is a serious issue for North Carolina companies of all sizes. Beginning on January 1, 2016, North Carolina employers will be able to recover monetary damages resulting from employees’ unauthorized access to and theft of their property.

The North Carolina Property Protection Act, House Bill 405, has been labeled by some critics as an “ag gag” law, a statute designed to put an end to undercover investigations on industrial farms. The Act makes it illegal to apply for a job for any reason other than a “bona fide intent of seeking or holding employment.”

It is illegal under the Act to make audio or video recordings, take photographs, or remove data, paper, records, or other material from any area that is not open to the public. Going much further than the typical ag gag statute (which cover agricultural employers), the Act is broadly written to provide protection to all property owners. In addition, the Act provides civil remedies to injured parties, including recovery of compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees, and exemplary damages of $5,000 for every day that the law was violated, rather than criminal penalties. Significantly, the Act also makes parties who intentionally direct, assist, compensate, or induce others to violate the Act jointly liable.

Businesses likely will be able to bring employment-related litigation, such as non-compete cases in which a former employee is suspected of taking valuable trade secrets, under the Act. The joint liability provisions in the Act makes it even more important that employers exercise due diligence when hiring new employees, particularly those who may have worked for a competitor. Employers should also be cautious of doing anything that could be construed to induce incoming employees to take property belonging to their former employer upon leaving.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume V, Number 206


About this Author

Joshua Krasner, Employment Litigation, Labor Relations, Jackson Lewis Law FIrm
Of Counsel

Joshua M. Krasner is Of Counsel in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has focused his practice in the areas of employment law, employment litigation and labor relations since 1997.

Since that time, Mr. Krasner has gained substantial experience defending companies against allegations of discrimination and harassment arising under Title VII, the FMLA, the ADA and the ADEA, and representing employers before the EEOC and in both state and federal court. Mr. Krasner is also well-versed in both state and...

Ted N. Kazaglis, Jackson Lewis, employment law attorney, alternative staffing industries lawyer
Office Managing Principal

Ted N. Kazaglis is Office Managing Principal of the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He handles a range of employment law issues with a particular focus on the alternative staffing industries, including professional employer organizations and temporary staffing companies.

Mr. Kazaglis assists clients in the staffing industries to define their relationship with their customers. He also defends such clients against legal claims, including those that involve joint employer issues.

Beyond his involvement in the staffing industries, Mr. Kazaglis has extensive experience in counseling and defending employers on discrimination claims. He also handles a wide range of employment litigation. He has also been involved in traditional labor law matters, including collective bargaining negotiations and labor arbitrations.