From “Weapons in the Workplace”
Security Management (03/18) Sorrells, Eddie. Posted by ASIS.
For most private employers, the issue of guns in the workplace is complex. There is currently no U.S. federal law regulating weapons at private workplaces, and while many state legislatures have taken up the issue, these laws vary in terms of their restrictions and make it difficult for employers operating in multiple U.S. states to implement one overarching weapons policy. By understanding the legal landscape surrounding firearms on work property, and establishing policies within the employers’ legal rights that properly address workplace violence, security professionals can help ensure a safe work environment without infringing on the legal rights of their employees. Notably, 23 states have some form of “parking lot laws” that allow employees to have firearms in their locked, private vehicles while parked on company-owned property. Meanwhile, more lawsuits can be expected regarding employee termination based on gun-free workplace policies. Florida, for example, passed a law in 2008 that prohibits employers from discriminating against any worker, customer, or invitee for exercising the right to keep and bear arms. Policies on workplace violence should include a thorough explanation of state law regarding guns on workplace property and outline how to respond to employees who are potentially violent. When firing any individual considered to be high-risk, companies should consider providing a security escort to the parking lot. Organizations should also train security officers in the use of de-escalation techniques. Finally, for workplaces that must comply with parking lot laws, organizations may consider increasing security in parking areas, such as adding an access control point, conducting patrols, installing video surveillance systems, and implementing proper lighting.