Can an employer search your vehicle?


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WebHobbit
July 10, 2003, 09:35 AM
I work at warehouse. For years I have "carried" my gun in a locked bag hidden inside another bag (camera type thing) in my car during work hours. Guns/weapons are NOT allowed inside the warehouse. This is posted and also stated in documents signed at time of employment.

No documents expressly state that you give them the right to search your vehicle. This is a Union shop and there is also no provision for this in the contract.

So I'm wondering CAN my employer force me to allow a search of my vehicle IF they merely "suspect" I have a gun in the car?

At no time is my gun EVER visible when on company property.

The reason I ask is because sometime last year a disgruntled co-worker "turned me in". The job I have as "Problem Solver" sometimes forces me to ruffle a few feathers over accuracy issues. :(

Security took me up to the front office and informed me of the rule about not having firearms on company property (including the parking lot they said) and told me they had "reason to suspect I have a gun in my car".

:rolleyes:

They asked me if I did and I said "no".

:scrutiny:

They dropped the whole thing after that but I did stop packing my piece in my car.

I am considering restarting this practice as I HATE not having it for the drive home...sort of sucks.

I guess I need to consult a lawyer as I really want to know WHERE the company's property starts and stops in regard to MY car. I would think the space inside my car is MY property.

I have a carry license so it's not a matter of getting arrrested I just don't wanna lose my job.

Opinions please!

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Norm357
July 10, 2003, 09:39 AM
No. Your employer has no legal auth. to search your car. However, if your not in a right to work state they could fire you for refusal to allow the search.
Norm

WebHobbit
July 10, 2003, 09:47 AM
I don't think Indiana is a "right to work state". Can someone confirm?

I'm liked fairly well by the company I suppose as they have granted me a good deal of security as far as the computer network goes...so they do "trust" me I guess. However if someone forced their hand it could go either way.

The twit that told has been fired. So that's a plus! :)

Also I don't tell people about the gun that don't need to know anymore. But I have been at this job for about 17 years and I wasn't so prudent a few years back. :banghead:

So there are a number of folks who either know that I'm a "gun guy" or can pretty much assume I am.

riverdog
July 10, 2003, 10:50 AM
I work at a military base, so it goes with the teritory that they can and do search my car when they do random checks. Besides, I'm in CA.

That said, whatever you decide to do, don't tell anybody... except maybe your lawyer if you decide to go that route. Don't even tell THR audience, we don't have the need to know what WebHobbit decides to do regarding carrying to work.

CZ-75
July 10, 2003, 12:54 PM
You might consider getting a mousegun and secreting it somewhere that they wouldn't look in a casual search, as I doubt they're going to tear the vehicle apart doing so.

FWIW, don't ask and don't tell.

KC
July 10, 2003, 01:04 PM
They cannot search your car because they are suspicious/paranoid, unless you give them permission. Depending on the state, they could call the cops, who can almost search your car at will. (CA is like this.) If they fire you because you did not let them search your car, then you could find a lawyer who could force a nice out-of-court settlement from them, socialized labor state or not.
Of course, it would be even better if the employer broke into your car and ransacked it without your permisssion. Breaking and entering, theft of a firearm...good times.:neener:

Carlos Cabeza
July 10, 2003, 01:05 PM
I sort of have the same problem Webhobbit. Since this Miss. shooting thing everyone is a bit skeered. Everyone knows that I am a firearms enthusiast and I think just the thought of this to some, scares the poop out of 'em. The only reason I carry is for the respect of life that I have but sheep will be sheep. :rolleyes: I think it would be a matter of company policy if searches were allowed, you could refuse but it may cost you you're job. Me, I can find another job, I won't let anyone be responsible for my well being but ME !. YMMV. I Hope you do the right thing.

Norm357
July 10, 2003, 01:18 PM
KC the police cannot search your car at will. If you are ever asked to have your car searched, decline. Thats all there is too it. Without a warrent or probable cause your car cannot be searched.
Norm

KC
July 10, 2003, 01:39 PM
Norm357: technically, you are correct.
However, out here in the Peoples Republic of California, the cops can pull you over to give you a field sobriety test if they feel like it. They can search your car if you object to them doing this as they now have reasonable suspicion. (After all, if you arent DUI, you should not object to the test and have no trouble passing it.) Oh, and you will have your licence suspended for 12 months. And other BS.
Dont believe me? go to http://www.dmv.ca.gov and see for your self.

hops
July 10, 2003, 01:43 PM
If you park on their property, I believe they can search your car, just like they can search your hand bag , purse or whatever when you enter the building. This is usually done to help prevent the theft of items or industrial espionage.
Most firms require you to get a 'property pass' to being in valued personal items, like your own lap top, if company it so poor or cheap to give you one for company / work related use. Or you want to take pictures, since most companies have policies against on site photography...... And so on.

See what your firm's HR policies are on these types of searches. Your state may have laws, or if a Union-shop, the Union contract may mention it.

It's ultimately their private property you're on.

If you have a valid CHL to carry a gun, you should at least be able to keep it in your car, outside of the actual building. Would be nice if they would alllow carry in building too, but.....

Tommy Gunn
July 10, 2003, 01:45 PM
Lock it in the trunk of the car.

Because its locked, the police would need a search warrant to open it. If there is a safe inside, they need another search warrant....

WebHobbit
July 10, 2003, 01:54 PM
They don't allow firearms ANYWHERE on company property.

SO my question is:

IF the gun is inside a bag and THAT BAG is locked up inside my car is the gun on MY property or their's?

It's a narrow distinction for sure but I think it may be valid. Any lawyers at THR?

GSB
July 10, 2003, 02:02 PM
If you park on their property, I believe they can search your car, just like they can search your hand bag , purse or whatever when you enter the building.

Security can request a search of those items, and they can deny you entry if you refuse, but I would very much doubt they have any legal standing to forcibly do any of those things. They are not law enforcement officers.

Look at it this way: you have a right to ask to strip search any woman who wants to enter your house as a condition for entry (and I doubt you'll get any takers), but you'll be seeing some jail time if you forcibly strip search her just because she's on your property.

KC
July 10, 2003, 02:03 PM
1)Lock your car. Tell them no, they may not search your car without a warrant.
1a)If they do produce a warrant, make sure it's served by an on-duty policeman. Delay and prevaricate the search until your lawyer gets on phone with company rep. search will likely be canceled on request of company.
2) Spend $50 and get a lawyer to print out and sign their standard "cease and desist" letter, and send it certified mail to your company.

3) Spend unhappy afternoon with the Human Resources nazis defending your civil rights
4) find new job...

Norm357
July 10, 2003, 02:41 PM
Norm357: technically, you are correct.
However, out here in the Peoples Republic of California, the cops can pull you over to give you a field sobriety test if they feel like it. They can search your car if you object to them doing this as they now have reasonable suspicion. (After all, if you arent DUI, you should not object to the test and have no trouble passing it.) Oh, and you will have your licence suspended for 12 months. And other BS.
Dont believe me? go to http://www.dmv.ca.gov and see for your self.

While I believe that anything is posible in Califorina, I cannot see how this would be legal. It violates your 4th? ammendant rights. The police have to have probable cause to pull you over in the first place. They just cannot pick you out from traffic and say lets give him a sobriety test. Any and all evidence would be thrown at trial. Just ask the state of Louisanna. The Supreme Court just gave them a big smackdown for this. I will try to find the case and report back.
Norm

mcole
July 10, 2003, 03:05 PM
no, they cannot search your car. if they ask for permission; they do not have probable cause. mcole

MrAcheson
July 10, 2003, 03:10 PM
A private employer? Probably depends on the state. The states that treat your car as an extension of your home would probably look down upon unwarranted searches by private citizens. The states which do not will not.

Of course I work for the government on an Army base so...

WebHobbit
July 10, 2003, 03:33 PM
Google search revealed this:

http://www.packing.org/news/article.jsp/5887/

DontShootMe
July 10, 2003, 03:50 PM
They just cannot pick you out from traffic and say lets give him a sobriety test.

Obviously you have not been to CA.

They can stop you, put you in their squad car, search your car (and they dont put everything back the way it's supposed to be), let you out of the car, and tell you 'have a nice day' - and they dont HAVE to tell you why they stopped you. If you demand to know, they may feel you are not respecting their authority and you'll be arrested and charged with the "charge of the month", and 'the judge will sort it out later.

If you have problems with their methods and you want to sue, you'd better have a video camera and a tape recorder to take with you to court because their word is ALWAYS better than yours.

dustind
July 10, 2003, 04:13 PM
I have seen houndreds of cases like this, I used to be involved with traffic laws/reform. The police in ********** stop cars for no reason all the time, I know many of Kali's traffic codes better than Minnesota's.

MoonMan
July 10, 2003, 04:52 PM
If you park on their property, I believe they can search your car,

Wrong.

To answer the question about whether things in your car are on your property or theirs, the answer is THEIRS.

But they have no right to search your car without a warrant, or permission.

Of course they could always make searches a condition of parking there.

HBK
July 10, 2003, 04:56 PM
Can you parl off their property? As a teacher, I've thought of parking off campus to solve that problem.

Norm357
July 10, 2003, 07:07 PM
Obviously you have not been to CA.

They can stop you, put you in their squad car, search your car (and they dont put everything back the way it's supposed to be), let you out of the car, and tell you 'have a nice day' - and they dont HAVE to tell you why they stopped you. If you demand to know, they may feel you are not respecting their authority and you'll be arrested and charged with the "charge of the month", and 'the judge will sort it out later.

If you have problems with their methods and you want to sue, you'd better have a video camera and a tape recorder to take with you to court because their word is ALWAYS better than yours.


Dontshootme, That is against the law. Can you cite me one case where someone has been stopped and searched without proper PC?
Norm

dustind
July 10, 2003, 07:13 PM
They can fully search your car if they think it may be modified illegally. An example would be the wrong headlights(over 60/65 watts), engine modifications, lowered, etc. It happens all the time.

WebHobbit
July 10, 2003, 07:17 PM
HBK said:

Can you parl off their property? As a teacher, I've thought of parking off campus to solve that problem

I wish I could park someplace else but it would add a 30 minute walk to and from. :uhoh: Just don't have that kind of time...wish I did as my gut could use 60 more minutes of forced excersize a day!

Norm357
July 10, 2003, 08:46 PM
They can fully search your car if they think it may be modified illegally. An example would be the wrong headlights(over 60/65 watts), engine modifications, lowered, etc. It happens all the time.


So they use the a maybe situation as probable cause? How come no one has sued there butts off? My wife is a police officer here in Metro Atlanta and even she says that sound risky for the officer and the dept authorizing this.
Norm

LawDog
July 10, 2003, 09:03 PM
Okay, somebody correct me is I'm wrong, but WebHobbit is asking if his employer can search his car if his car is parked on company property.

Did I miss something? Is WebHobbit employed by his local PD?

If WebHobbit is not employed by his local police department, why has his thread been hi-jacked by a police right-to-search debate?

Now. Remembering that the Fourth Amendment guards your right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures conducted by the Gov't or agents of the Gov't - and assuming that your employer is not the Gov't or an agent of the Gov't:

Your employers can require that you allow your vehicle to be searched as a condition of your employment -- especially if your vehicle is parked on private company property.

However, if your employer (or agents of your employer such as security) asks to search your vehicle and you refuse, they cannot go ahead and search the vehicle without your permission.

They can, however, use your refusal to allow them to search as a reason to terminate your employment with them.

This goes out the window, however, if you have signed anything as a condition of your employment that gives your employer the right to conduct a search of your vehicle at their convienence. This stipulation is usually found in the fine print near the middle of something else you signed when you first went to work.

LawDog

Standing Wolf
July 10, 2003, 09:03 PM
If you are ever asked to have your car searched, decline. Thats all there is too it. Without a warrent or probable cause your car cannot be searched.

Can not legally be searched, that is. Heaven knows commoners don't need Fourth Amendment civil rights: they'd just abuse them.

dustind
July 10, 2003, 09:06 PM
Kali has CARB, california air resorce board. The police can make anyone pop the hood, or go through any other part of the car, to make sure it complies. It is horrible, anything that does not look factory has to have a sticker saying its legal. Basically the police can stop anyone, anytime, no reason and search, I have not heard of them finding anything illegal like drugs during such a search, I am not sure what would happen if they did. This is talked about all the time on car message boards.

EDIT: Sorry for the thread jack, my bad. I think law dog is right about your original post.

Norm357
July 10, 2003, 09:07 PM
Lawdog, that was me who hijacked this thread. Sorry. I was responding to some info that I thought was incorrect about Califorina LEO's and searching of vehicles.
Norm

WebHobbit
July 10, 2003, 09:22 PM
LawDog --

I have examined the paperwork I signed when I hired on (copies of it atleast) and there is nothing in there about car searches.

Alan Smithiee
July 10, 2003, 11:33 PM
AOL fired 2 employees for having firearms in there cars in a parking lot leased by AOL (I believe it was in Utah of all places), IIRC a court upheld the fireing...

glocksman
July 11, 2003, 02:57 AM
Posted by Norm357:
However, if your not in a right to work state they could fire you for refusal to allow the search.

'Right to work' only protects you from being forced to join a union as a condition of employment.

It has nothing to do with termination of employment for reasons other than refusal to join a union.

A lot of states that have RTW laws are also 'at will' states. This mean s that an employer can fire you for any reason at any time.

The only exception to 'any reason' is that you can't violate any of the antidiscrimination laws when terming someone. For example, you can't fire an employee because he's black or is a Wiccan.

If you're under a union contract, you have recourse against an unjust termination that you wouldn't have in a non-union shop in an 'at will' state.

As far as WebHobbit goes, we both work at the same place.
In fact, I'm an ex-Union steward, so I know a little about the rules.

But we've never had the situation come up, so I don't know the answer for certain. Our contract is silent on the issue.

However, the conduct of the LP (Loss Prevention) and HR people leads me to believe that they don't think they could force someone to allow a search of their vehicle.

The company we both work for is somewhat contemptious of due process and unjustly terms people at the drop of a hat. The flip side of this is that the Union wins over 80% of the arbitration cases and the termed people get their jobs back.

This has gone on for years.

Given the Company's track record of ignoring their own policies and the contract when it suits them, I believe that if they thought they had a right to force WebHobbit to open up his car, they would have done so that day.


As far as calling the police goes, the PD isn't a private security force.
The cops may come out at the report of an employee having a firearm in their vehicle, but after Webhobbit shows them his carry permit, would they even want to search the car?

After all, at that point he's breaking no law by carrying a gun in his car.

If the police still went ahead and searched the car (despite the total lack of any probable cause and that even if a handgun was found, it's perfectly legal for him to have) , it's still not their job to inform the employer of what was found.

I'm no lawyer, but if the police searched my car for a firearm at the request of my employer after I showed them my pistol permit that legalizes the carrying of said gun, I might have grounds to sue the PD.


One caveat:

Despite what I wrote above, I (I have a CCW as well) don't carry a gun in my vehicle while I'm at work. While I'm fairly certain I'm right, I'm not totally certain that I am.

Carry at your own risk. :neener:

gunsmith
July 11, 2003, 03:31 AM
and was required to ask for a pass for laptops and such,searches were not allowed.
at the time I was an unarmed guard, policy was I was supposed to ask
folks with guns to exit the building,but I told my supervisor
that it would be me exiting the building (quickly) if I saw a dangerous person with a gun.
I was very tempted to ask police to disarm before entering :evil:

so in essence if they suspect you are stealing and you have (say)
a duffle bag they can look inside the duffle bag,but they can not "pat you down"...I would say just carry it and do not tell anyone,then you can honestly say "it is not in the car":D

Augustwest
July 11, 2003, 11:16 AM
Won't be a popular opinion necessarily, but in my eyes the property owner has every right not to allow guns on it's property. Just as I have every right not to allow anyone on my property who isn't carrying ;)

Freedom ain't just about guns...

WebHobbit
July 11, 2003, 04:50 PM
Won't be a popular opinion necessarily, but in my eyes the property owner has every right not to allow guns on it's property

While I understand the sentiment the idea of bieng UNARMED to and from work everyday is pretty unappealing. I don't see how something that is out of site and secured inside my car should be an issue for an employer (or anyone else).

Captain Bligh
July 13, 2003, 09:31 AM
I'm no lawyer but here is how it happens at my shop.

Indiana is an "at-will" employment state. An employer may ask you to allow them to search your car. If you decline, it may be grounds for termination, providing it is backed-up by supporting personnel policies.

This, of course, only applies if you are parking on company property.

I'm not a big fan of leaving guns in unattended cars.

RJ

Pilgrim
July 13, 2003, 02:30 PM
I worked as a law enforcement officer in CA for 17 & 1/2 years. I do not know of any agency that subscribes to the idea any motorist can be stopped and detained at random for a field sobriety test. Likewise, I do not know of any agency that believes that refusal to take a field sobriety test constitutes probable cause to search a motor vehicle.

I have arrested people for DUI who refused to take the field sobriety test, but they already exhibited symptoms of intoxication that were impossible to ignore. I didn't pick them at random. They either exhibited poor driving ability, violated a traffic law, or their vehicle had a gross equipment deficiency. I did warn those drivers that refusal to take a field sobriety test could be considered by a jury as "consciousness of guilt."

After a lawful arrest, a motor vehicle can be searched by the arresting officer, but only those areas accessible to the driver when he was stopped. The trunk is off limits unless the officer has developed probable cause to believe evidence of a crime will be found in the trunk.

If I were summoned to a place of business and asked to search an employee's vehicle after he refused to grant his employer permission to search, I would have to ask myself some questions first. Is the item the employer thinks I will find illegal to possess under the laws of the state of California? Is the item legally possessed, but illegal to keep in the motor vehicle according to the laws of California? How does the employer know that item is in the motor vehicle?

In accordance with Illinois v. Gates (1983), a court reviewing the probable cause for the search will look at: How did the informant know the item was located in the vehicle? How reliable or recent is that information? How reliable is the informant? What does the informant stand to gain by the search of the defendant's property? Did the investigating officer corroborate the informant's information from other sources and means? Based on the Gates decision, I would not search an employee's vehicle just because the employer wants it searched.

Now, if there is a law enforcement agency that is operating contrary to all this, I am surprised it has not come to the attention of competent defense attorneys who have 1.) gotten their clients acquitted or their cases dismissed and 2.) initiated some pretty hefty civil lawsuits for violation of their client's civil rights.

I do agree there may be some individual officers pushing the envelope on search and seizure. Some know fully well what they are doing and are counting on the citizen to be too ignorant to know his or her rights and too poor to assert them. I have encountered officers who didn't know the law. They either slept through their classes on search and seizure, or just plain didn't understand what was taught. I knew one officer who thought he could pat down for weapons anyone he detained. I had to explain Terry v. Ohio to him because he didn't thoroughly understand the decision.

If you are living in a community where the police routinely violate the Constitution in the manner you relate, I ask you to do the community a favor and bring this to the attention of the newspapers, the city council, the city manager, and if all that fails, the state attorney general. Don't just complain about it on a gun forum.

Harold Mayo
July 13, 2003, 03:58 PM
I haven't read the posts in this thread other than the first, so I don't know what sort of advice you've been given, but I'll chime in.

I worked in Indianapolis for several years. The company that I worked for had a similar policy. After some conflicts with the employees over the issue, we actually got some legal advice and, as it turns out, the employer CAN search your car...but only if you give him permission to do so. If you don't, then your employment could be terminated. That's what we were told, anyway.

For a better view of it, I would ask El Tejon. He's a gun guy and an attorney in Indiana, so you're not going to get a much better answer than one from him...

glocksman
July 13, 2003, 05:20 PM
We (Webhobbit and I) work in a Union shop.

The discipline clause of our contract states:

1. No employee covered by this Agreement shall be discharged or disciplined except for just cause, except that summary discharge may result for acts which include but are not limited to: intoxication, gross misconduct, insubordination, possession, sale of illegal substances or alcohol or objects such as firearms or other weapons, theft, harassment, and for unreported, unexcused absences of three (3) consecutive scheduled work days. The Employer shall notify the Union, in writing, within twenty-four (24) hours of all cases of discharge of covered employees.


2. Except for provisions as set forth in Paragraph 1, no employee shall be discharged after completion of the forty (40) day probationary period without the application of disciplinary steps as set forth below:

a) Performance and Conduct:

First Offense: Formal Coaching and Counseling
Second Offense: Written Warning
Third Offense: Second Written Warning
Fourth Offense: Final Written Warning
Fifth Offense: Discharge

3. Just cause for the application of disciplinary steps shall include demonstrable cases of job errors, incompetency, or violation of rules and published regulations other than those which may result in summary discharge.

Speaking as a former steward, I don't believe that refusing to let the employer search your car constitutes 'gross misconduct', especially considering that there's nothing in the existing rules or HR policies that mention searching an employee's vehicle.



But again, I'm not an attorney. ;)

Harold Mayo
July 13, 2003, 05:23 PM
Same thing at my old job in Indianapolis. Not an attorney, so I only know what the attorney told us.

Norm357
July 13, 2003, 05:27 PM
Thank you Pilgrim, that's all I was trying to say. My wife is a police officer here in Metro Atlanta and she said that would place an officer and the agency at great risk.
Norm

Moparmike
July 15, 2003, 03:51 AM
This makes me wonder about the legality of drug-dogs and searches of cars at my old high school. They would have drug-dogs come in to halls, sniff lockers (their property, fine by me) and students would have to leave their bags on the floor of school rooms and drug dogs would go in and sniff them. The dogs would also do the cars as well.

While it is a finer line because of state property, its still questionable. I still say that anyone who kept such items while at school in their car or in a bag are idiots and deserved to get cought.

I could see Walmart raising a big stink about this sort of thing. I dont know their gun-policies, but it still makes me wonder.

veloce851
July 15, 2003, 12:04 PM
for Right to work info http://www.nrtw.org/rtws.htm

As for the company's right to require you not to have banned items in your car while its parked on their property. As far as I know they can state this in policy.. however I would simply deny if ever asked. They DO need a police warrant in order to search your car. They don't need a warrant to search your person or bags you may carry in. I would clarify the wording in the documents you signed when you CHOSE to sell your life energy hours to them.
I would then look at parking your car off company property, and get a little exercise with the extra walk. (or buy a cheap skate board..yes I'm serious)
I don't care what their policy says. If your car is parked off their property there is absolutely nothing they can do. As far as they know you walk to work period.

The company I work for states firearms are not allowed anywhere on their property including your car. However enforcement is near impossible.
I carry on my person every single day I work there. Yes at anytime management could ask to search my backpack (usually in the interest of preventing theft)
At that time I would allow it and let them know I carry. Then I would polish up my resume. Everything in life is a gamble. Heck I gamble every moment I go outside since I am in a nonCCW state :(
But you know what they say.. better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.


Keep in mind if you truly want your job then you are going to have to give up some rights or just take the risk until challenged. Or you could choose to find employment with someone who is not going to require that you give up key rights.

Sometimes I am facinated at the mindset that employment with a company is involuntary. We all CHOOSE to sell ourselves to a company for an offered wage. We can all say no and go elsewhere. The concept may seem harsh. But there are jobs all over this country, so you have to decide which is more important, using your God given right to protect yourself, or giving up that right in order to provide shelter and feed you and your family. It may seem involuntary, but if you break it down its really a decision based on comfort. Its easier to give up rights and be comfortable.

If you choose to accept employment with a company that doesn't uphold our God given rights... then my advice is to keep your mouth shut about your favorite pasttime. If they don't know your a gun guy.. then they don't have any reason to ever question you.

I however am single, so I can afford to let anyone and everyone know I'm a gun nut. If they ever approach me about carrying. Its time to find new employment.
I am living proof that it is possible to go from a mid 5 figure income to $9 an hour and survive, and what do you know I have cable TV, cool AC and I was able to build my AR-15 :)
I may eat ramen noodles alot and I commute on my bicycle... but you know I've lost 20+ lbs that I have fought for years to get rid of.. all because I made the decision to give certain things up and not give up others.

TaxPhd
July 15, 2003, 06:38 PM
It isn't gross misconduct. It's insubordination.

You can refuse. They can fire you.

Same kind of freedom you have at your home. You can require that visitors comply with your wishes. They refuse, you can require them to leave.

Freedom is a wonderful thing. But it seems like some folks who love having the fredom at their homes don't really want other to have the same freedoms. :rolleyes:

Ala Dan
July 15, 2003, 11:29 PM
Greeting's All-

U' betcha they can, if you work for a state or federal
prison system; where they have reason to believe
that there is illegal drug's/weaponary (or both) in
a particular vechile. Employee, Vistor, and Vendor
vechiles are subject to search upon entering the
grounds of these facilties; and most of the time
it will be clearly posted, so that it leaves NO doubt
in anyone's mind!:uhoh: :rolleyes: :D

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

Ex-Doc
July 16, 2003, 12:24 AM
It's simple, most likely the individuals that would search your vehicle are violating the same policy....I go shooting at lunch with security management(professionally unarmed) and they have the same no-firearm in your car on their property policy.....if they were to change their mind i have their targets with their names on them!

glocksman
July 16, 2003, 02:37 AM
It isn't gross misconduct. It's insubordination.

We're a union shop.

The company has no rules and has set no precedent regarding searches of private vehicles in nonsecured areas of the property. They do have one for vehicles that enter the secured trailer yard.

Since they have no written policies or a signed waiver that allows a search of a vehicle in the unsecured (unrestricted public access) employee parking lot, It wouldn't necessarily be insubordination to refuse them permission to search.

My advice as a steward in such a situation would be to refuse consent if you have a gun in the car.

If they don't search your car and they fire you based on your refusal to let them search, the union stands a good chance of being able to get your job back based on their lack of written policies and precedents concerning such searches.

I think the Company believes they don't have the right to demand a search as they didn't do it when presented with specific and credible information that WH carried a gun in his car.


Better to make them fire you for 'insubordination' by refusing permission than to get fired for having a gun. The union can make a case before an ALJ that refusal of permission doesn't constitute insubordination as the employer has no policies or procedures in place to define when a search may take place. In a union shop, the employer can't just make up and impose such a rule on the spot. It's a subject for mandatory bargaining with the union.

Whereas if they find a gun, you're in clear violation of the written policy that you signed when you were hired.

Now if you don't have a gun, by all means let them search.


U' betcha they can, if you work for a state or federal
prison system

It's been compared to a prison, but it's not one. :D
It's a run of the mill private employer.

Alan Smithiee
July 16, 2003, 01:07 PM
if your in a union shop why not ask your shop stewart? isin't that the kind of thing you pay union dues for?

and you have to remember that SCOTUS has ruled that minors have no rights, (esp privacy and 4th A) they can be stopped and searched at any time for any reason.

glocksman
July 16, 2003, 02:30 PM
I was a steward (and I still try to keep current with the rules) up until a year ago, and I don't know the answer.

I asked both the Chief Steward and the service rep about it and they didn't know for certain either, as the situation has never arisen.


If a termination would happen for refusal to let them search, you have a decent chance that an arbitrator would give you your job back because of the lack of; a written policy, any past practice regarding refusal to let search, and a consent in any of the paperwork you signed after being hired.

If you get termed because they find a gun, you're SOL.

Now the company can come up with a written policy, but they have to bargain it with the union and the policy can't be made retroactive.


Currently, I don't think there is a for certain answer in this situation.
If we weren't union, they'd have the right to term you.
Even though we are union, if they had a written policy that was consistently applied on the subject, they'd be able to term you.

We're union, but there's no policy on the subject.
It's a gray area in this case and it would depend upon how the ALJ ruled in the arbitration if you got fired for refusing.

My advice however, is not to carry a gun on company property.
Why gamble with your job?

Harold Mayo
July 16, 2003, 07:19 PM
After some consultation...

If the company has no written policy AT ALL and it's just something passed around by word of mouth, then the company is SOL. If there is a written policy in effect, then the employee is SOL, union or not. As has been pointed out, employment is voluntary. By taking that paycheck, you are implicitly agreeing to the working rules that are in effect. If you don't agreee with them, then you shouldn't take the paycheck.

If the company had no policy in effect and has since changed it and HAS NOT notified the employees by posting the change or having a meeting about it, then the company hasn't really made that change yet.

If it were me and I were under suspicion, I would probably just do what another poster said...drive as close to work as possible and then walk.

Rebeldon
July 16, 2003, 10:52 PM
Property rights are just as sacred as gun rights. If they own the property, they make the rules. It stinks that they are such idiots, but that's the way it is. They can't force search you, but they can deny you entrance to the property if you refuse to be searched. Park your car somewhere else and walk. That really stinks too, but what else can you do?

If you go to a concert hall and the entrance rules include "No weapons", they have a right to ask you to be searched. They can't force search you, but they don't have to allow you to see the concert unless you allow them to search you for weapons. I had a pocket knife on me when I went to a concert. When the security guard searched me, they found my Swiss Army knife. I didn't consider it a weapon so I didn't think anything about it. The security guard confiscated it from me. That's where he crossed the line. All he could do was to tell me to leave and come back without the knife, or not to come back at all. I had a brain fart and allowed him to take my knife. After the concert, I told a police officer that the security guard confiscated my knife and he got spitting mad. It turns out that at least 70 knives were confiscated and at the end of the concert, twenty people complained to the police. The police made the concert security give all the knives back, and he splained to them that they didn't have the authority to confiscate jack ****! He told them they had the right to "request" a search, only to prevent the weapon from being brought into the concert hall. If somebody refused, they hade the right to refuse them entrance. It turns out the head security guy had all the knives if a box and he was going to take them home. One guy had a $100 Browning engraved hunting knife. One of the other security guards said something about him taking the knives to the flea market and selling them. What a jerk!

I'm not sure how "Right to Work" laws would enter into this situation. It is unreasonable for them to deny you your right to carry a firearm to and from their property, which is what they are doing by prohibiting you from carrying it onto their property, even if it's just in your car and it stays there. But then, you dont' have to work there. Perhaps that's where the "Right to Work" laws come into play. What if they were complete idiots and said they had a "zero tolerance for drugs" and didn't even allow you to bring your personal medication onto their property? If you had diabetes or hypertension, you could not work there, and that would be a violation of your right to work. It seems that providing for your own elf-defense is as much a right as providing for you own health, and in a way it's related. What if you were married to a woman who has a jealous ex-husband who wanted to kill you, and you carried a firearm for personal protection? If you weren't allowed to carry it onto their property how would you be able to protect yourself from your wife's jealous ex-husband? At some point, you would have to discard your weapon in order to enter their property, leaving you vulnerable. Are they going to provide an armed guard for you?

WebHobbit
July 19, 2003, 12:49 PM
If only my workplace was located in Kentucky the employer COULD NOT FIRE me for having a weapon in the car:

http://www.law.state.ky.us/civil/opinions/oag9812.htm

Zip06
July 19, 2003, 01:20 PM
I would invest in a lawyer and get the right answer. Seems to me that cops have to have probable cause. Is the employers suspicion probable cause? Sounds to me kinda like, can the employer search you. What if you set off a metal detector, do you have to submit to a search? Talk to a lawyer.

Zedicus
July 19, 2003, 01:48 PM
Good Question, What States are "Right To Work" States?

Moparmike
July 19, 2003, 03:14 PM
"Right to Work" means that joining a union cannot be a stipulation for being hired. You are free to do so if you wish, but the company has no say in wether you do or not.

Other states have unions in some jobs and you have to join them to keep your employment.

Zedicus
July 19, 2003, 07:22 PM
"Right to Work" means that joining a union cannot be a stipulation for being hired. You are free to do so if you wish, but the company has no say in wether you do or not.
I know that, I just wanted to know which states ARE "Right to Work" States...
There has to be somekind of list somewhere....

Calmwater
July 19, 2003, 07:25 PM
Zedicus : http://www.nrtw.org/rtws.htm

Zedicus
July 19, 2003, 07:44 PM
Thanks Calmwater, Exactly what I was looking for :)

Westicle
July 19, 2003, 08:49 PM
One thing I don;t get is why more people are not taking up the constitutional challenge ....... for a state to retain statehood it is clearly written that they must follow the letter of the constitution and not infringe upon it's right either way.

California for one is in clear violation of that... someone should see about revoking thier statehood.

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