Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do you know? Guns at work

no-weapons-signs-thumb2839181Do you know? While the 2nd Amendment famously guarantees the  right to bear arms, Ohio law protects the right of employers to prohibit weapons of any kind from entering the workplace.

Ohio Revised Code section 2923.126(C)(1) provides:

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.

In Plona v. UPS (3/6/09), the Sixth Circuit recently confirmed the right of an employer to terminate an employee for violating a no-weapons policy. In that case, UPS fired Plona for violating its policy against possessing firearms on its premises after he was found with a pistol in his car. Plona claimed that the termination violated Ohio’s public policy in favor of the right to bear arms. The Court correctly disagreed:

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…. UPS was thus plainly within its rights … to prohibit its employees from possessing firearms in the parking area.

If your business does not have a policy banning weapons anywhere on its premises, consider contacting your employment counsel to have a policy drafted.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.

For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or