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Thread: Can my friend carry at work?

  1. #1
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    Here's the situation:

    My friend works for a local pubic wastewater district here. Basically like any PUD, except they deal strictly with sewer. They have their own stand-alone office building. He says they have a "No Weapons" policy, so he can't carry. I asked him about at leastkeeping his handgun in the car, andhe said theruleapplies to the parking lot as well. They made him sign a form stating that they have theright to search hisvehicle at any time, or something of the sort. None of this is verified, just what he told me.

    My question is, can RCW 9.41.290 apply here at all? Obviously, if he worked in a private firm, they could prohibit. But since technically its a publically owned agency,it shouldn't be considered private property, right? I can't find anything in 9.41.300 that really addresses this, anybodyhave some thoughts?

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    I am not a lawyer, but my guess is that authority for prohibiting employee firearm possession flows from the employee contract. Much like the recent case in Oregon, where the Medford School District was successful in defending its policy prohibiting a teacher from carrying her gun in school, even though non-employee CPL holders may do so legally in Oregon. Washington is similar in that an employer may fire an employee for nearly anything, such as wearing a hat, or a green shirt, or carrying a firearm (but may not discriminate based on age, sex, race, etc.). The best advice is to consult a lawyer, and then for your friend to decide what is more valuable to him: his safety or his job.

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    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    dt wrote:
    Here's the situation:

    My friend works for a local pubic wastewater district here. Basically like any PUD, except they deal strictly with sewer. They have their own stand-alone office building. He says they have a "No Weapons" policy, so he can't carry. I asked him about at leastkeeping his handgun in the car, andhe said theruleapplies to the parking lot as well. They made him sign a form stating that they have theright to search hisvehicle at any time, or something of the sort. None of this is verified, just what he told me.

    My question is, can RCW 9.41.290 apply here at all? Obviously, if he worked in a private firm, they could prohibit. But since technically its a publically owned agency,it shouldn't be considered private property, right? I can't find anything in 9.41.300 that really addresses this, anybodyhave some thoughts?
    Does your friend have a problem with the policy (which he contractually agreed to)? Or does he accept it?

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    Hank- it doesn't have to be an 'OR' question. He obviously has an issue with it, because he'd like to be able to carry and can't. But just as obviously he signed the paper/contract/agreement/whateveritwas, thereby accepting it. I did the same thing by signing a slip saying I read and agreed to the employee manual for my job. Do I take issue with the fact that it states "weapons are prohibited"? Dang right! But that was my choice to sign the slip and take the job, so I accepted it. Doesn't mean I can't work to get it changed, tho.

    My question wasn't whether he had screwed himself by signing the paper, I'm not disputing that. The question is whether WA state preemption would come into play because of the nature of the job. But tnx anyway.


    Sean- I thought of that case, but I don't think OR has complete preemption like WA. Also, schools are noted in 9.41.300, if I recall correctly.

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    IMHO, this is a contract issue, not a legal one. If your friend carries onto the property in violation of the contract, he can get fired (but not arrested unless he refuses to vacate the property once told to.) That's about it. It was your friend who signed the contract after all.

    They can't restrict NON employees from carrying a firearm on non-federally owned public property however.



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    I also signed a contract not to have weapons on the property...

    So I would park my car just out of the parking lot on the street, really only 20-30 feet farther than I would if I parked on company property.

    That way, I still have my firearm while traveling to and from work, and I was also in accordance with the company policy.

    If he can park off of their property nearby and feels safe doing so, it might be an option to consider.


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    Regular Member Dave_pro2a's Avatar
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    WA is an "At-Will" employment state.

    That means a worker can be fired, for any reason at all, or no reason at all. Poof, your job is gone. http://www.rbs2.com/atwill.htm

    Can he carry? Sure, but he'd be breaking company policy and would likely lose his job if caught.

    Would it be a criminal offense? No likely, unless he (as a part of his job) carried on school owned property or federal property.

    Can he fight the policy? Sure, he can talk to his superiors and try to get an permission to carry or get the policy changed -- but it will go no where and it will jeopardize his job and future promotions imho.

    As someone else stated, it all sounds contractual. He accepted the job, and accepted the 'terms of employment.'

    "I'm just a no-account screed-peddler" Dave Workman http://goo.gl/CNf6pB

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    Dave_pro2a wrote:
    WA is an "At-Will" employment state.

    That means a worker can be fired, for any reason at all, or no reason at all. Poof, your job is gone. http://www.rbs2.com/atwill.htm

    Can he carry? Sure, but he'd be breaking company policy and would likely lose his job if caught.

    Would it be a criminal offense? No likely, unless he (as a part of his job) carried on school owned property or federal property.

    Can he fight the policy? Sure, he can talk to his superiors and try to get an permission to carry or get the policy changed -- but it will go no where and it will jeopardize his job and future promotions imho.

    As someone else stated, it all sounds contractual. He accepted the job, and accepted the 'terms of employment.'

    Most important part of that post highlighted for clarity. Unfortunately, most employers in the greater NW region of Washington are NOT pro-2A and even if they can't use it as an immediate reason to fire you, all they have to say is "We no longer require your services. Goodbye." That's all the explanation they have to give you, and all managers are told to say, because anything explained otherwise is ammo for a former employee to bring back against them in a lawsuit. It really is a"no-win" scenario for employees in Washington.

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    dt wrote:
    Here's the situation:

    I asked him about at leastkeeping his handgun in the car, andhe said theruleapplies to the parking lot as well. They made him sign a form stating that they have theright to search hisvehicle at any time, or something of the sort.
    This is where that whole deal down in Oklahoma came from. An employer stating that employees were not allowed to keep a gun in their car and would search cars and fire people if guns were found, even if properly stored and locked. I think that the issue here is privacy. Your car is private property. It is considered the same as your home by many court cases at many levels. Would a company, especially a government company, get away with having you sign a statement that they could search your house any time they felt like it as a condition of employment? Of course not. The courts wouldn't stand for this for a second. How about private businesses posting a sign that parking in their lot while doing business with their store implies the right for them to search your car? How many of you think that would be legal?

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    Thanks for all the response. I guess I could have worded it a bit differently. I get itthat with the contract (I'm assuming thats what it was), he's pretty much sunk, since an employer has the right to do that. If you don't like it, don't take the job. But I guess I was wondering more if his agency had the right to even work up such a contract or requirement, since the they are publicly owned and the workplace is essentially public property.

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    heresolong wrote:
    dt wrote:
    Here's the situation:

    I asked him about at leastkeeping his handgun in the car, andhe said theruleapplies to the parking lot as well. They made him sign a form stating that they have theright to search hisvehicle at any time, or something of the sort.
    Your car is private property. It is considered the same as your home by many court cases at many levels.
    That is correct, and the employee as every right to say "No, I will not allow you to search my car." At which point the employer has every right to say "Ok, you are now terminated for breach of contract.

    The contract states that the employer has a right to search as a condition of employment. You may choose to break that contract at any time and look for another job.


    How about private businesses posting a sign that parking in their lot while doing business with their store implies the right for them to search your car?
    Specious argument. The customer never signed a contract allowing them to search the car or be fired.

    Perhaps a better analogy would be something like...

    Purchasing a ticket to watch the Seahawks. You consent to be "searched" as a condition of being allowed into the stadium.




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    Regular Member John Hardin's Avatar
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    If your employment contract says something like you grant the employer permission to search your car, line that clause out and initial it before signing the contract. Then you are not agreeing to that clause in the contract.

    He might be able to revise the contract if he asks the HR department (without explaining why), but it's a long shot now.

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    gregma wrote:
    heresolong wrote:
    How about private businesses posting a sign that parking in their lot while doing business with their store implies the right for them to search your car?
    Specious argument. The customer never signed a contract allowing them to search the car or be fired.

    Not specious at all. You are entering private property. They have as much right as an employer to impose conditions on your use of their property. Precisely why businesses are free to post "no firearms" and we are expected to obey. You have an implied contract if you are using their property. You do business with them under certain terms and conditions. However the courts have ruled, as others have already agreed, that your car is private property and can not be searched without probably cause. (Reference:findlaw.com).

    A more relevant case would be the Seahawks claiming that your purchasing a football ticket allowed them to search your car in the parking lot with no probable cause of anything. Again, I don't think that this would stand up in court.

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    heresolong wrote:
    gregma wrote:
    heresolong wrote:
    How about private businesses posting a sign that parking in their lot while doing business with their store implies the right for them to search your car?
    Specious argument. The customer never signed a contract allowing them to search the car or be fired.

    Not specious at all. You are entering private property. They have as much right as an employer to impose conditions on your use of their property. Precisely why businesses are free to post "no firearms" and we are expected to obey. You have an implied contract if you are using their property. You do business with them under certain terms and conditions. However the courts have ruled, as others have already agreed, that your car is private property and can not be searched without probably cause. (Reference:findlaw.com).

    A more relevant case would be the Seahawks claiming that your purchasing a football ticket allowed them to search your car in the parking lot with no probable cause of anything. Again, I don't think that this would stand up in court.
    Entering private property that is open to the public is far different from signing a contract for employment. And if you signed a contract with the business owner giving him permission to search your vehicle if you parked on his lot I'm sure would hold up in court if when you went to pull into his parking lot they came to search your car and you allowed them to.

    You have the right to break a contract at any time, but you also suffer the consequences of that action. If the employment contract said that you must allow them to search your car, and you refuse when they go to do that, you are breaking the contract and have the right to do that. They then have the right to fire you.

    If you sign a contract with a business that allows you onto their property saying that you must allow them to search your car, and you refuse when they go do to that, you are breaking the contract and have the right to do that. They then have the right to forbid you from entering the parking lot again.

    NEITHER can *force* you to submit to the search. *That* would be a violation of your privacy. You always have the right to refuse and break the contract. Of course then the contract is broken and any results of that broken contract come into play.

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    People always bring up the whole carrying at work topic. If you are carrying at work, chances are it will be concealed. If it is concealed, I fail to see a problem. I have been carrying my firearmat one of my jobs for the past year now and only one person, who happens to be a good friend,knows.

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    G27 wrote:
    People always bring up the whole carrying at work topic. If you are carrying at work, chances are it will be concealed. If it is concealed, I fail to see a problem. I have been carrying my firearmat one of my jobs for the past year now and only one person, who happens to be a good friend,knows.
    "Two people can keep a secret, as long as one of them is dead." :P

    For someone contemplating CCW at work when it's not 'technically' allowed, I'd suggest not telling a sole (not even the wife or gf, or best friend).
    "I'm just a no-account screed-peddler" Dave Workman http://goo.gl/CNf6pB

    "We ought to extend the [1994] assault weapons ban" George W Bush

    "The Bush Administration declared a permanent ban today on almost all foreign-made semiautomatic assault rifles." George Bush Sr, New York Times on July 8, 1989

    "I support the Brady bill and I urge the Congress to enact it without delay." Ronald Regan.

    "Guns are an abomination." Richard Nixon

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    Well I didn'tplan on it, they just unfortunately found out on accident. But I trust this person considerably. In general though, it's a good idea not to let anyone know if your company doesn't allow it.

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    Dave_pro2a wrote:
    "Two people can keep a secret, as long as one of them is dead." :P

    For someone contemplating CCW at work when it's not 'technically' allowed, I'd suggest not telling a sole (not even the wife or gf, or best friend).
    What does not telling a sole have to do with it? Personally I would thing bottom fish could keep secrets pretty good...:P (I'm jest messin' with you, couldn't help it)

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