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Pa.: Bill Would Bar Employers from Prohibiting Guns in Parking Lots

By Rita Zeidner  7/22/2014
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Private employers would be barred from prohibiting their workers from keeping guns in their cars under a bill under consideration in the state Senate.

The Employee Parking Lot Protection Amendment would prohibit a person, partnership, firm, association, corporation or non-profit from maintaining or enforcing a policy that prohibits an employee from keeping a gun or ammunition locked or out of sight in the truck, glove box or other compartment in his or her vehicle.

Exceptions under the bill include schools, properties used for school functions, properties where federal or state law expressly prohibits possession of firearms, prisons, domestic violence or emergency shelters, group homes, colleges and chemical, oil and nuclear plants.

Under the proposal, the firearm would have to remain out of sight inside the employee’s vehicle.

The proposal would require employers to reinstate any employees fired for having a firearm in their car and to provide full back pay and benefits.

Today, 23 states have laws limiting property owners’ ability to ban firearms in vehicles according to the National Rifle Association, which supports such measures.

Laws vary by state but under most so-called Bring Your Gun to Work laws, employers can bar firearms from offices and factory floors, but they can’t prevent workers from keeping them in their cars.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to provide a workplace “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” In a 2006 Society of Human Resource Management survey of human resource professionals, 98 percent of respondents stated employers should be allowed to determine their own worksite policies regarding whether to allow weapons on workplace property.

It is SHRM’s position that employers must retain the freedom and responsibility to assess the safety needs of their organizations and to establish appropriate policies.  

SHRM opposes any restrictions on the right of individual employers to determine their own worksite policies regarding weapons on company property (including parking lots).

Rita Zeidner is a freelance business writer and former senior writer for HR Magazine.
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