Tenn.: Gun Bill Goes to Governor

By Diane Cadrain Apr 8, 2015

Senate Bill 1058 has cleared both chambers of the legislature and reached the desk of Gov. Bill Haslum. The bill would bar employers from discharging or taking adverse employment action against an employee solely because the employee has stored or transported a firearm or ammunition in his or her vehicle, as long as the vehicle is parked in a location where it is permitted to be and the firearm or ammunition in the motor vehicle is out of sight (stored in the trunk or glove compartment) if the employee is not in the vehicle, and out of ordinary observation if the employee is in the vehicle.

An employee who is discharged or subject to an adverse employment action may sue the employer for economic and other damages.

Employees are only eligible for these protections, however, if they can show they have a valid permit, the vehicle is parked in a permitted area, and the firearm or ammunition are out of sight.

The law specifically states that if employees comply with these criteria within the employer’s permitted parking area, that situation would not by itself constitute a failure by the employer to provide a safe workplace.

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill, stating that no other states have gone this far to create a special employment class allowing them to collect economic damages and attorney fees for violations.

If the governor signs the bill, it will take effect on July 1, 2015.

Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for mor than 20 years.

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