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.


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