Guns at Work: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (Just Leave Them in the Car)

“[In Texas] … public and private employers can no longer prohibit employees from storing legally possessed firearms in a locked vehicle parked in a designated public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area. One notable effect of this new law is that employees can no longer be disciplined or terminated for storing their legally possessed firearms in their locked and parked vehicles.” (Guns In Company Parking Lots by Jackson Walker)

An update from Jackson Walker on the recently enacted Texas law allowing guns in company parking lots serves as a useful reminder for employers and HR managers to review and update company policies on firearms and other weapons in the workplace. Ford & Harrison, writing about Florida’s “Guns at Work” law, explains:

“… we would recommend tightening up existing policies and practices regarding workplace violence. Under the new law, guns could always be within easy reach of an employee or visitor and the employer would not be permitted to conduct a search or even ask if the individual has a gun in his or her car. This means that supervisors and managers will need to be even more vigilant on the front end about managing violence-prone employees and responding to potentially dangerous visitors.” (Florida’s Guns At Work Law to Take Effect July 1, 2008 by Ford & Harrison LLP)

For your reference, here’s a state-by-state roundup of commentary and analysis on laws regarding guns and employees:

Florida

Florida Governor Signs “Bring Your Guns to Work” Law (Ford & Harrison LLP)

“… the “bring your guns to work” bill makes it illegal for public and private employers to have policies prohibiting firearms on their private property. Specifically, the law permits employees who have concealed weapons permits to keep firearms locked in their vehicles on company property.” Read more»

“Guns at Work” Laws Resurface in Several States (Ford & Harrison LLP)

“The bill also provides that no employer shall condition employment upon any agreement by a prospective employee that prohibits an employee from keeping a legal firearm locked inside a motor vehicle when such firearm is kept for lawful purposes.” Read more»

Florida Enacts Law Allowing Employees to Keep Guns in Their Cars at Work (Littler)

“Employers are barred from … terminating or otherwise discriminating against an employee, or expelling an invitee, for exercising the right to keep and bear arms or for exercising the right to self-defense so long as the firearm is not exhibited on company property for any reason other than lawful defensive purposes.” Read more»

Georgia

Georgia’s Parking Lot Law Has Less Bang for Employers Than Predicted (Littler)

“… Georgia law restricts the ability of employers to adopt policies that prohibit employees and visitors from storing firearms in their vehicle while parked in an employer’s parking lot… The new law reflects a nationwide push by the National Rifle Association to override employers’ policies prohibiting firearms on their property. Similar laws have been passed in Alaska, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.” Read more»

Indiana

Indiana’s “Bring Your Gun to Work” bill and the federal Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (Wooden & McLaughlin)

“Effective July 1, 2010, new Indiana Code § 34-28-7 will preclude an employer from enforcing a policy that prohibits an employee who legally possesses a firearm from bringing the weapon and ammunition into their employer’s parking area so long as the weapons are locked in the trunk or glove box of their vehicles or stored out of plain sight in a locked vehicle.” Read more»

Indiana Further Limits Employers With Respect to Guns & Ammo (Fisher & Phillips LLP)

“On April 18, 2011, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed a new law clarifying and bolstering employees’ and applicants’ right to lawfully possess firearms and ammunition… In simple terms, this law makes a person’s ‘gun status’ somewhat akin to a protected category under the civil rights laws. In fact, it will function much like the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act.” Read more»

Texas

Texas Law Allows Employees to Store Concealed Weapons in Privately Owned Automobiles in Company Parking Lots (Bryan Cave)

“… a Texas employer may still bar its employees from carrying a firearm beyond the employer’s parking facility and into its workplace. Furthermore, the new law provides employers with immunity (except in cases of “gross negligence”) against civil actions for personal injury, death, or any other damages that may result from incidents involving firearms or ammunition that the employer is required by law to allow on the employer’s property.” Read more»

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See also: 

Keeping Violence Out of the Work Environment (Ford & Harrison LLP)

Employer Firearm Policies: Parking Lots, State Laws, OSHA, and the Second Amendment (Morrison & Foerster LLP)

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