The Wounded Warrior Project, which advocates for disabled veterans, is urging North Carolina’s General Assembly not to override the governor’s veto of the employee trespassing bill.
In a letter to all members of the legislature, the Florida-based organization says it is concerned that House Bill 405 would impede legitimate whistlelowers. That is the same objection Gov. Pat McCrory had in vetoing the bill on Friday.
“As you know, House Bill 405 allows employers to sue employees who detect and report employer wrongdoing,” chief executive officer Steven Nardizzi writes. “We are concerned that, if it becomes law, this bill will create a climate of fear that will deter employees from reporting misconduct. This is especially problematic in the context of employers caring for vulnerable populations. In these situations, employee reports are often the only way misconduct is exposed, and retaliation by employers against reporting employees can be common.
“To give one relevant example, allegations surfaced last year that employees at Veterans Affairs facilities in North Carolina had been retaliated against for whistleblowing. As an organization dedicated to honoring and empowering injured service members, we are concerned that this legislation might cause wrongdoing at hospitals and institutions to go unchecked.
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“Although we understand the need to protect employers from trespass, we believe the chilling effects of this bill are simply too dangerous, and for that reason, we oppose it.”
The bill’s supporters say it protects whistleblowers, but opponents disagree and say it is too broad.
The legislature has enough votes to override the veto, and that action could be taken this week.