What happens when a gun owner is faced with two seemingly contradictory laws? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t to choose the one you want and ignore the other one. It’s time to get legal advice or the consequences could end you up in jail…or even “getting fired.”
I bring this up because of a particular case that happened where a man was fired for bringing his gun to work. The article appeared in National Law Review as an example and discussion of a particular situation where a man was fired from his job when bringing a firearm to work. In the article, “Fired for my Firearm? I’ll Sue,” they talked about this supposed conflict that occurred when interpreting the law based on two assumptions.
Here is a brief description from the article to give you some idea of this particular situation…
“Before terminating an employee for bringing one (or more) gun to work, make sure state law does not create rights allowing employees to do bring them to their work location that might allow an employee to sue.
States have been enacting laws in recent years that require employers to allow employees to keep a gun locked in the employee’s car on company property. A federal appeals court that covers Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi recently ruled that an employee who was fired after he parked his truck in the company parking lot with his gun locked inside could sue the company for wrongful termination for a public policy violation created by a Mississippi statute containing one of these laws. The company had terminated the employee for violating its policy prohibiting firearms on its property.”
Here’s the conflict that causes this to occur…
“Employers can often feel caught between competing laws in this area. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s “general duty clause” requires employers to take steps to prevent workplace violence, but state laws may give employee rights to bring firearms onto their premises that some may think creates a heightened likelihood of serious violence. Negligent hiring and retention causes of action give victims of violence in the workplace common law claims to make against employers. Management and HR ultimately have to find a seemingly fine line between protecting employees from workplace violence, protecting the company from lawsuits related to any such violence, and complying with state laws vesting individuals with rights that potentially challenge these obligations.”
I bring up this particular situation for you, the gun owner, the business owner, or the employee to recognize that just because we have a law doesn’t mean it’s easy to understand or interpret the application of the law for the individual…you. These situations aren’t as “cut and dried” as you might think the law would be or the interpretation of the law by either a gun owner or the business.
I bring up this particular situation because it happens and it’s important to understand these conflicts can happen to anyone. It takes both fully understanding the law and getting an interpretation of the law to ensure you are either protected or within the law. Sometimes it isn’t as easy or straightforward as we would like it to be and it can cause great anxiety in some and law suits for others…as we saw in this particular case where the employee is suing the employer.
When this occurs, I highly recommend you talk to a “gun law attorney” who can give you better guidance and insights into the various interpretations or options. Seeking advice ahead of time can save everyone a lot of anxiety and money. If you don’t have an attorney, feel free to give me a call or send me an e-mail with your question and I would be happy to give you some initial thoughts of what you might want to consider before taking any action. I’m always happy to help because I feel it is very important to…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.