Guns in the Workplace - Recent Shootings Increase Risks
Author: Ashley Shaw, XpertHR Legal Editor
In the wake of tragic events, such as the Batman shooting in Colorado or the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin, scared witnesses tend to react emotionally rather than rationally. The result of these recent public shootings has been a major increase in gun licenses throughout the country.
Of concern to HR is the risk that the more employees there are with access to guns, the greater the likelihood that there will be a workplace homicide, or at least gun-related incident, on an employer's premises.
It is important, however, for employers, even in these emotional times, to not create strict weapons policies banning guns from every area of the premises without checking state law. Many states have Parking Lot Storage laws that forbid employers from banning guns from employer-owned parking lots so long as certain requirements are met.
Before creating or updating a weapons policy, employers should know the state laws on gun control, which XpertHR covers in depth in the Guns and Weapons in the Workplace section of the Employment Law Manual. Our Workplace Weapons Policy can be used to develop a new policy or update any existing policy you may have - it addresses both states with Parking Lot Storage Laws and those without these laws.
If the worst does happen, employers can also find information on how to handle the tragedy through our in depth discussion of Employee Assistance Programs and our analysis of how to deal with death in the workplace. Finally, employers can view our full coverage of Securing Employees in the Employment Law Manual to learn how to best protect their employees.
Below are additional resources available on XpertHR to help with this challenging issue.
Policies and Documents
- Use of Employer Premises Policy
- Visitor Policy
- Workplace Violence Prevention Policy
- Potential Warning Signs of Employee Instability - Checklist
- Responding to an Act of Violence - Checklist
- Signs of Employee Stress - Checklist
Best Practice Manual
- Handling a Violent Employee - Supervisor Briefing
- Handling Employee Misconduct - Supervisor Briefing
- How to Create a Crisis Management Team
- How to Design a Disciplinary Procedure
- How to Exercise Reasonable Care in the Hiring Process
- How to Handle a Violent Employee
- How to Handle Mental Health Concerns
- May an employer be held liable for workplace violence between co-workers?
- How can an employer implement a policy on domestic violence?
- How do most acts of violence in the workplace occur?
- What are the key components of a workplace violence program?
- What should I do when an employee begins to show signs of aggression?