Weapons in the Workplace
Author: Ashley Shaw, XpertHR Legal Editor
Given the increase in instances of workplace violence, it is tempting for employers to consider an outright ban on all weapons in the workplace. However, many state laws are already in place that protect an individual's right to bear arms under certain circumstances and in designated areas. Plus, the potential for new laws is always on the horizon given the heightened attention on gun control and the varying state-by-state responses to that effort.
Whether a state allows certain teachers to bring specified weapons into schools or it allows all permit-carrying employees to keep a weapon in a locked vehicle on the employer's property, an employer must consider the state where it is located to properly assess: (i) who can be barred from carrying a weapon into the workplace and (ii) in which locations the ban can be properly implemented. Even where weapons can be appropriately prohibited from all of the employer's premises, there are likely laws stating how the ban must be announced (such as with a sign of a specific height displayed at a specific location).
Accordingly, employers should be fully aware of the laws at play in their state(s) prior to creating any policies on this topic.
Policies and Documents
- Workplace Weapons Policy
- Potential Warning Signs of Employee Instability - Checklist
- Searches and Inspections of the Employee and Employee Personal Property Policy
- Progressive Discipline Policy
- Employee Conduct and Discipline Policy
Employment Law Manual
- Risk Management - Health, Safety, Security > Workplace Security > Guns and Weapons in the Workplace
- Employee Management > Employer Liability Concerns in Employee Management > Workplace Violence
- Employee Management > Employee Handbooks - Work Rules - Employee Conduct > Workplace Violence
- Employee Management > Employee Discipline > State Requirements
Quick Reference Chart
- Does an employer have a right to search an employee's locker or desk?
- Does an employer have the right to search an employee's purse or bag?
- May an employer be held liable for workplace violence between co-workers?