In light of recent mass-shootings around the country, the right to carry concealed weapons has become a hot topic for individuals and employers.
Employers are not immune from having to evaluate their policies and procedures for allowing or curtailing the right of their individual employees to carry weapons at work. Texas law generally recognizes an employer’s property right to maintain control of their private business. This means that a private-sector employer may generally institute policies and procedures that limit their employees’ ability to carry guns while at the work place. However, there is an important exception to the employer’s authority to limit concealed weapons on their premises. The Texas Legislature passed a law in 2011 prohibiting employers from setting restrictions on an employee’s right to keep and store firearms in a private employee’s locked car.
The statute applies to any parking garage or other parking area that the employer provides for its employees. The statute does not apply to cars that are owned or leased by the employer, and the statute does not apply to most school districts, chemical manufacturers, and oil/gas refiners. And while most employers cannot prohibit its employees from keeping and storing firearms in their car, the statute makes it clear that employers are protected from civil liability for damages arising out of incidents involving such guns or ammunition stored in such employees’ cars except in cases of gross negligence.
By giving employees the right to transport and store firearms in their privately-owned cars, Texas has taken significant steps in recognizing the individual’s right to keep and bear arms. They have done so while also recognizing that private employers have a right to maintain a work environment of their choosing.
Should you have any questions about your employee’s rights regarding firearms, or any other employment related issues, please do not hesitate to contact a member of Underwood’s Employment Law Section.
This column is published for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.