The Property Protection Act was passed to protect businesses from those who obtain a job to attack their employer. The bill’s purpose is to make it unlawful to seek employment at a business if you have no intention of holding the job, but are instead using the position for (what essentially amounts to) espionage.
While the bill applies to all industries in North Carolina, HSUS is taking this very personally because it will potentially outlaw one of its favorite pastimes—sneakily getting hired onto farms and surreptitiously shooting video.
HSUS claims that this bill is an attack on “free speech,” but one can only buy that claim if you also believe that HSUS’s operatives are actual “whistleblowers.” They’re not. The people who HSUS scatters in farms throughout the country are not there to objectively report on the treatment of animals. Rather, they are sent into the field to collect footage (that is sometimes heavily spliced together) that can be used to attack farms. There’s one particularly noxious instance where HSUS sat on footage it had for months before turning it over to authorities. That drew the ire of New York Times columnist Joe Nocera. Listen to our interview with one former HSUS investigator to learn more.
But North Carolina’s bill isn’t just important for the farm industry, it’s important for all industries. Infiltrating companies is more common than we might imagine, and it could occur for a number of reasons.
Last year Mitch Modell, CEO of Modell’s sporting goods chain, was hit with a lawsuit by competitor Dick’s Sporting Goods. Dick’s alleged that Modell pretended to be a senior executive at Dick’s and was able to obtain access to his rival’s backroom storage areas. Modell’s undercover mission allegedly allowed him to get a behind-the-scenes look at his competitor’s business model. The lawsuit accused Modell of civil conspiracy and trespassing on “nonpublic” areas of the store. The lawsuit was resolved with an undisclosed settlement.
The bottom line is this bill is common sense. Businesses are private property, and we do not have the right to walk onto private property under false or deceptive pretenses any time we see fit. Let’s leave the investigating to the police, not folks with an agenda.