Federal and state job safety laws require employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a safe workplace. Unfortunately, America’s workplaces have become venues for virtually all forms of violence. Identifying possible vulnerabilities to workplace violence and ways to prevent or reduce the risk of violence has become a key part of crisis planning for businesses. From this, many employers have considered weapons-free workplace policies, which include work rules prohibiting the possession of knives, guns or other firearms on the work premises.
Yet, while violence by employees can create liability for negligent hiring, retention, supervision or training if their conduct was reasonably foreseeable, employers and business property owners also face potential liability for failing to address an increased risk of violence from the outside, such as a threat of nighttime assaults or robberies in a high-crime area. Employers are in a tough position when determining whether their employees are safer with or without weapons on the workplace premises.
However, in Texas this decision was partially taken out of employers’ hands — at least to the extent of employees’ personally owned locked vehicles within the company parking lot.
Texas Labor Code § 52.061-062:
“A public or private employer may not prohibit an employee who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun, who otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm, or who lawfully possesses ammunition, from transporting or storing that firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage or other parking area the employer provides for employees. The employer can, however, otherwise still prevent the employee from carrying the weapon or ammunition onto the employer’s premises.”
If you want your workplace to be free of guns and weapons, you must address this from all sides: existing employees, new employees, visitors and vendors:
- Make the necessary changes to your employee handbook,
- Have the employees sign an acknowledgement of the revised policy.
- Include the no weapons/gun as part of your NEO and new employee onboarding plan
- Post the Texas 30.06 signs in English and Spanish at your entry doors.
- And strictly enforce your policy with all employees including your management team.