In late May 2015, North Carolina Governor McCrory vetoed a bill that would have compromised employees in certain industries who recorded their employers doing illegal acts. House Bill 405 was known as the "ag-gag" bill since many examples of employees in the agricultural industry were used. For example, workers that recorded their employer violating animal cruelty laws could have potentially been sued by their employer under the proposed law. The proposed law would have not only applied to farms, but to day care centers, private schools, nursing homes, and medical centers. If the law had passed, it would have discouraged employees in nursing homes from gathering evidence of elder abuse and neglect on video footage. The governor vetoed the bill and requested lawmakers establish worker protections and confidentiality when reporting illegal acts.
Secret video recordings can provide strong evidence of injury or wrongdoing. Every state addresses video footage in nursing homes differently. Not only do the jurisdiction's regulations need to be considered, but some companies might impose media regulations as well. If an employee is witnessing elder abuse or neglect and wants to help provide evidence, first check with a nursing home abuse attorney to learn the best way to handle the situation.
Sometimes the workers are not the ones recording abuse. Family members of nursing home residents have been known to install hidden cameras to help document suspected negligence. The New York Times documented an elder abuse case where a family member used a hidden camera to catch a thief after the elderly resident's personal belongings started to go missing. Instead of discovering the culprit--the video captured upsetting violent incidents of physical abuse instead.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to be 88.5 million in 2050. This figure is more than double the elderly population that existed in 2010. The risk for elder abuse could grow as nursing homes continue to expand and accommodate the growing number of seniors. Not only will the party found guilty of negligence suffer penalties for nursing home abuse, but employees who fail to come forward and report illegal acts will face additional charges under North Carolina law. Do the right thing and consult with a North Carolina nursing home abuse attorney. Our meetings are confidential and there is no charge for an initial consult.