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Thread: Can Employer Restrict Even Having Your Firearm in Your Own Car?

  1. #1
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    Can Employer Restrict Even Having Your Firearm in Your Own Car?

    So I just read my company's policy on firearm and it mentions that you can't even leave your firearm in your car. Can an employer do that in the state of Ohio. Part of the policy does say "Unless permitted by applicable state law and regulations...." So does Ohio have laws around this either with or without CCW? Currently I usually don't carry because of the pesky laws with loaded firearms in cars without a CCW but I do/have transported unloaded in the trunk so I could go shooting after work. Obviously I don't want to violate the policy and get fired but I also want to have my firearm for before and after work without having to drive 30 minutes home and then 45 minutes to the range which is only 15 minutes from my work. The closest place I could legally park my car with my firearm left in it is at least a half mile away. Obviously not something I'd want to do.

    Policy:

    Policy statement
    (Company Name) in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, prohibits individuals from possessing firearms, explosives or any other weapons on their person, in their work areas, locker rooms, or vehicles, except as noted below. This prohibition applies to all individuals on company premises or attending a (Company Name)-sponsored event, and to any employee attending a vendor or customer event, regardless of the event's location.

    Possession of firearms in private vehicles (United States only)
    Unless permitted by applicable state laws and regulations, (Company Name) prohibits employees or visitors from possessing firearms of any type, including but not limited to legally-owned firearms, within a private vehicle while on company property.

  2. #2
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Can Employer Restrict Even Having Your Firearm in Your Own Car?

    Is there Ohio statute law on the topic? Many states have law on particularly this topic.

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    Regular Member RCall's Avatar
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    I have also looked into this, and have come up empty handed for anything in the ORC pertaining to storing a firearm in a vehicle at a place of employment. As far as I know there is no criminal laws being broken if one chooses to do so because you are breaking company policy not a law. I believe you are only putting yourself at risk for termination from your employer if they happen to find it. Im sure if im wrong on this somebody else from Ohio will come along and correct me.

    The only thing I did find pertaining to handguns and private employers was from O.R.C. 2923.126 which states:


    (2)(a) A private employer shall be immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly was caused by or related to a licensee bringing a handgun onto the premises or property of the private employer, including motor vehicles owned by the private employer, unless the private employer acted with malicious purpose. A private employer is immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly was caused by or related to the private employer’s decision to permit a licensee to bring, or prohibit a licensee from bringing, a handgun onto the premises or property of the private employer. As used in this division, “private employer” includes a private college, university, or other institution of higher education.

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    That's the same thing I came up with also. No law actually broken but company policy which might get you terminated. And I could only find that they could restrict carry in THEIR vehicles. If you're in YOUR car in THEIR parking lot you're slightly splitting hairs of being on their "premises" but in your private property. Also in other policy it states that they have the right to search your car, person, purse, backpack, etc... for whatever reason and refusal to allow a search can result in termination. Not sure how legal that is.

    That law is kind of annoying because it says they are not liable for allowing you to carry but they're also not liable if they prohibit you to carry. So say I park in a public lot and walk to work in order to have my firearm before and after work but get mugged between getting to or from the building to car they're not liable for inhibiting my ability to defend myself. So I guess I'll just keep my firearm in my car in the company parking lot since it's unlikely that they'll ever search my car and I rather get fired than suffering physical harm.

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    [Eugene Volokh, March 6, 2009 at 12:54pm] Trackbacks
    Firing an Employee for Gun Possession in Car Parked on Company-Controlled Parking Lot

    is just fine, holds the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Plona v. UPS. This is the latest phase in a case I noted two years ago (though that post came before it became clear that the parking lot was indeed company-controlled). Here's the relevant discussion:

    Ohio has traditionally adhered to the employment-at-will doctrine, which permits an employer to terminate an at-will employment relationship “for any cause, at any time whatsoever, even if done in gross or reckless disregard of [an] employee’s rights.” But ... the Ohio Supreme Court [has] carved out an exception to the employment-at-will doctrine for situations where the employee’s discharge contravenes public policy. To maintain [such a] claim, a plaintiff must establish: (1) the existence of a clear public policy manifested in a state or federal constitution, statute or administrative regulation, or in the common law (the “clarity element”); (2) that a dismissal under circumstances similar to the plaintiff’s dismissal would jeopardize the public policy (the “jeopardy element”); (3) that the plaintiff’s dismissal was motivated by conduct related to the public policy (the “causation element”); and (4) that the employer lacked an overriding legitimate business justification for the dismissal (the “overriding justification element”). The clarity and jeopardy elements are questions of law to be decided by the court.

    Here, Plona asserts that the “clear public policy” at issue is manifested in the Ohio Constitution, Article I, § 4, which states that “[t]he people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security ....” He reasons that UPS violated this policy by terminating him for possessing an unloaded firearm in a parking lot that he characterizes as quasi-public property by virtue of its use by UPS customers and its ownership by a party other than UPS.

    Plona’s argument is without merit. Although the Ohio Constitution provides a general right to bear arms, the state certainly does not have a “clear public policy” of allowing employees to possess firearms on the premises of their private employers. To the contrary, the Ohio legislature has specifically provided that employers may limit their employees’ rights to bear arms:

    Nothing in this section shall negate or restrict a rule, policy, or practice of a private employer that is not a private college, university, or other institution of higher education concerning or prohibiting the presence of firearms on the private employer’s premises or property, including motor vehicles owned by the private employer.

    Plona does not dispute that the parking lot in question is owned by UPS’s wholly owned subsidiary BT-OH, or that the lease between UPS and BT-OH affords UPS full control over the parking lot. UPS was thus plainly within its rights, as codified in § 2923.126(C)(1), to prohibit its employees from possessing firearms in the parking area. Because Plona cannot show that UPS violated a clear public policy of the state of Ohio, his wrongful-termination claim fails as a matter of law.

    By the way, to anticipate the likely "of course no court would ever hold this as to other rights, such as free speech" arguments: In most states, nongovernmental employers are allowed to fire employees based on their speech, even speech that's entirely outside employer property. (For a list of the states that take a contrary view, see this post chain; I had hoped to blog about more of the statutes than I noted there, but didn't have a chance to.) There's certainly no constitutional constraint on firing employees for their off-the-job speech -- the Bill of Rights generally applies only to government entities, not private employers -- and there's no federal statutory constraint on it (except as to a few types of speech, such as union advocacy).

    The matter varies as to other constitutional rights:

    Free exercise of religion: Federal antidiscrimination statutes (and similar statutes in many states) generally does bar employers from firing employees based on the employees' religion, including the employees' religious practices, and even some on-the-job practices (though it depends on whether accommodating the practice would be unduly burdensome to the employer).

    Right to get pregnant, and right to abortion: A federal antidiscrimination statute (and similar statutes in many states) also generally bans discrimination based on pregnancy, which some courts have interpreted as covering discrimination based on abortion. See, e.g., Doe v. C.A.R.S. Protection Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 358 (8th Cir. 2008).

    Right to marry, or not to marry: Quite a few states' statutes also bar employers from firing employees based on employees' marital status.

    Right to sexual autonomy: Quite a few states' statutes bar employers from firing employees based on employees' sexual orientation, which would presumably cover firings based on at least certain kinds of exercises of the right to sexual autonomy. Some states also ban discrimination based on lawful off-premises recreational conduct, which might cover some firings for sexual activity.

    Other rights: I know of no laws that bar employers from firing employees for the exercise of a right to self-incrimination, or a right to refuse to allow the police to search the employee's property, and the like.

    So courts generally have not barred private employers from firing people based on the exercise of their constitutional rights (or, to be precise, their rights to do things free of government restriction). Congress has, as to a few rights (free exercise of religion, free speech as to labor matters in many contexts, reproductive rights). Some but by no means all state legislatures have, as to a few more rights (right to marry, right to sexual autonomy, and, in fewer states, freedom of speech). And a few states have done this as to the right to bear arms, even in some states on company parking lots. But the only general pattern here is that these rules are almost always created by legislatures and not by courts (with a few exceptions for things such as jury service and whistleblowing to government agencies, and even that not always).

    http://volokh.com/posts/1236362082.shtml
    Last edited by zack991; 06-04-2012 at 02:37 PM.
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  6. #6
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Can an employer restrict having your firearm in your car? YES, ORC 2923.126 Duties -

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroC View Post
    So I just read my company's policy on firearm and it mentions that you can't even leave your firearm in your car. Can an employer do that in the state of Ohio.
    http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2923.126
    ORC 2923.126 Duties of licensed individual § 2923.126(C)(1) Nothing in this section shall negate or restrict a rule, policy, or practice of a private employer that is not a private college, university, or other institution of higher education concerning or prohibiting the presence of firearms on the private employer’s premises or property, including motor vehicles owned by the private employer. Nothing in this section shall require a private employer of that nature to adopt a rule, policy, or practice concerning or prohibiting the presence of firearms on the private employer’s premises or property, including motor vehicles owned by the private employer.

    [ ... ]

    (3) (a) Except as provided in division (C)(3)(b) of this section, the owner or person in control of private land or premises, and a private person or entity leasing land or premises owned by the state, the United States, or a political subdivision of the state or the United States, may post a sign in a conspicuous location on that land or on those premises prohibiting persons from carrying firearms or concealed firearms on or onto that land or those premises. Except as otherwise provided in this division, a person who knowingly violates a posted prohibition of that nature is guilty of criminal trespass in violation of division (A)(4) of section 2911.21 of the Revised Code and is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If a person knowingly violates a posted prohibition of that nature and the posted land or premises primarily was a parking lot or other parking facility, the person is not guilty of criminal trespass in violation of division (A)(4) of section 2911.21 of the Revised Code and instead is subject only to a civil cause of action for trespass based on the violation.
    Last edited by Herr Heckler Koch; 06-04-2012 at 04:33 PM.

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    Which really sucks since not only are they prohibiting me from having my firearm in my car they are by proxy restricting me from having my firearm off the premises. I really don't want to come home and find my door open (again) and then have to wait for an hour for a cop to show up to clear the house in case someone is hiding out.

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    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herr Heckler Koch View Post
    Did you notice though....that an employer is specifically empowered to prohibit firearms in "their OWNED vehicles" As an employer you can prohibit firearms in YOUR vehicle....it says nothing about in an employee's own private vehicle...it also talks about CARRY on their property...what is in my car is mine, not theirs...and they are not looking in MY car...I won't let them...

    actually, not true in my personal situation, as I am retired, and when I worked, I worked for myself...I was the employer...and I didn't prohibit anyone. When I did work for someone else...they only had one rule..."act like an adult"...it was a good rule.

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    Anyone ever try to get a written exception to policy? Wording? Who would be required to grant such exception?

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    Regular Member MyWifeSaidYes's Avatar
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    Depends. Who's the employer?
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    What does a caring, sensitive person feel when they are forced to use a handgun to stop a threat?

    Recoil.

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    Regular Member Eeyore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroC View Post
    Which really sucks since not only are they prohibiting me from having my firearm in my car they are by proxy restricting me from having my firearm off the premises. I really don't want to come home and find my door open (again) and then have to wait for an hour for a cop to show up to clear the house in case someone is hiding out.
    Could you park off-premises (on the street)?
    Guns don't kill people. Drivers on cell phones do.

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    I'd rather not give the specific company but I work at the HQ of a large national corporation, think Chase/Verizon big.

    Can't park on the street. Immediate street is no-parking, close by streets are permit only parking and all the lots near by are private.

  13. #13
    Regular Member MyWifeSaidYes's Avatar
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    With Ohio being an at-will employment state, you have several options.

    1) Quit and go work someplace else.

    2) Try to work with management to get an exception in writing.

    3) Carry anyway or store in your car anyway.


    Other than termination from employment, option 3 would subject you to criminal trespass (in building) or civil trespass (in parking lot) as your employee handbook already notified you about the "no guns" policy. You probably signed a paper that says you read that handbook.

    Option 2 probably won't work in that large of a company.

    Option 1 is best. And worst.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    What does a caring, sensitive person feel when they are forced to use a handgun to stop a threat?

    Recoil.

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    Guess I'll go the stay quiet route and leave in my car in a bulldog safe under the seat or something like that. In the over 5 years I've been with the company with a few thousand employees I've never seen a car ever get searched or anyone's person get search or know of anyone randomly drug tested for that matter.

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    Are you 100% sure that the company owns the parking lot? If they are leasing, then they may have no control over your actions in the parking lot, it would be up to the actual landowner to dictate terms in that case.

    I've worked a lot of retail and the company policy often stops at the parking lot threshold.

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