Workplace liability concerning no CCW


November 5, 2003, 02:17 AM
My work does not allow any firearms on the property, very simple and direct rule. CCW was already ruled out too. But they have a Q&A site, and a question was asked about liability, if something were to happen while at work, or on the way to or from work and home, in which the incident could be prevented or lessened with the presence of a firearm. They responded that under "most" cases they would have no liability. Which cases could occur which would place them liable? The multitude of documents I remember signing released them of all responsibility, but as it is, I signed those several years ago, and might not remember everything they said.

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Zach S
November 5, 2003, 09:42 AM
I dont remeber signing that document, but i may have. Orintation(?) was held from 08:00 to about 13:00, my normal work hours are 22:00 to 06:30. Theres really no telling what I signed, since i wasnt of "sound mind."

My employer also has a no firearms policy.

Old Fuff
November 5, 2003, 10:51 AM
A lot would depend on the circumstances. "Most" cases could still leave them facing some serious liability.

If, as the result of a shooting incident you suffered some "injury" (a legal term) a lawyer could bring a civil suit against the company for a number of reasons, including "wrongful death." Obviously I hope this wouldn't be you.

The lawyer would try to convince a jury that by disarming employees, particularly those that were legally licensed to carry guns by the state, the company was obligated to provide some kind of alternative security. Would he win? It's questionable, but he might. For that reason the company, or it's insurance carrier, would likely try to settle out of court, possibly for some big bucks.

If I was in your shoes I'd get a heavy (lockable) metal box or safe mounted somewhere in my car, idealy welded to some frame member in the trunk. I would place my sidearm therein. I would not tell ANYONE about it. It is unlikely that the company could search your car, and an officer couldn't either without probable cause. Under the circumstances you might be violating a company policy that could get you fired, and you might be charged with a minor offense for having a gun inside a posted parking lot, but nothing more.

Incidentally, if you could park off of company property you'd be home free.

Then if you chose too you could stop on the drive home and transfer the gun to your person. Or you could carry it on the way to work, but transfer it to the lockbox/safe before you got to the company parking lot.

AJ Dual
November 5, 2003, 10:55 AM
Actually, WI has a liability statute written into it's pending CCW code! If it passes, and dosen't get ammended away, that is. Although this seems to be one case where the trial lawyers lobby will be on our side. :D Never seen them turn down an opportunity to sue. The pending bill also dissalows employers from barring safely stored CCW firearms in the employee's car and parking lot.

Under the current bill being debated today or tomorrow in the WI assembly BTW, an employer who prevents CCW by policy at their workplace, and has an attacked or injured employee who posesses a CCW permit and could have defended himself, is open to be sued.

That AFAIK, is unprecedented in the CCW regs of any other state. And one of the things I think that has CommonSense's panties in a bunch, because of his stated position of being "pro-CCW in WI, but against the current bill" because of all the ways private businsesses are abused in WI.

Despite being an otherwise staunch conservative/libertarian, and pro-business and pro-private property, I believe that self-defense is overriding. To paraphrase the "Tamara Manifesto" concerning CCW vs. private property rights: It's my body, and my life, and those don't cease being my business, and my property just because I've walked in your door.

Double Naught Spy
November 5, 2003, 11:13 AM
Your employer has ZERO liability responsibility to you for an incident where you claim that the carrying of a firearm by you would have lessened the potential harm done to you. Your employer is required to make reasonable security concessions to the business such as having locks on door, proper lighting in the parking areas, etc. They are not required to provide you with armed guards, although some do.

For you to argue that having a gun would have changed the circumstances of a situation, you would have to prove that this would be the case, not that it would be the case if you got a lucky break. You cannot prove that having a gun would necessarily have changed the outcome of events. You can't prove it because what you are suggesting is pure speculation.

Many employers seen guns in the workplace like this. They don't know the potential future events and dangers that might enter the work place out of their control, but they do know the potential risks and dangers of having employees bring guns into the work place. So employees with guns increase the potential risk for an accident/negligent. For example, there are businesses that have been open for decades where there has never been any workplace violence. So having employees with guns increases the level of potential danger in the workplace. You can argue that the logic is bogus and I largely agree, BUT in repeated events, police responding to various confrontational situations where no guns were present have managed to introduce their guns into the situation (simply by wearing them into the situation) and events occur that result in folks getting shot and not by the cop, but with his gun. In other words, lethal force weapons get introduced into situations where they were not originally present and so the danger level has increased.

Your employer may not be able to control unknown future events, but he can control employees and prevent them from introducing dangerous items into the work place. In fact, his liability to other employees may actually go up by allowing guns in the work place.

You can't prove that having a gun in the work place would have changed the consequences of a situation that occurred. So don't count on being able to successfully sue an employer for damages because the employer did not allow you to have a gun in the workplace. Additionally, as a condition of employment, even indirectly as a matter of agreeing to abide by workplace rules that may change over time and come to include a no guns policy, you have contractually agreed to work and receive money while abiding by said rules. As such, suing for compensation because you were not allowed to carry and somehow got injured in some violent event comes out that you were suing after the fact that you did not like the workplace rules. If you didn't like the workplace rules, then you should not have remained as an employee or sued BEFORE the event for the right to carry. Of course, suing your employer beforehand will probably result in your termination.

If you don't like the rules, leave. It is your life. Don't blame your employer for not allowing you to carry a gun at work if you are willing to work for that employer and be paid by that employer. The fault is yours for staying and agreeing to workplace rules which are going to be a condition of employment. If you think you are in danger because you can't carry, then the botton line is that you don't need to be there. Get another job. And yes, I know that you may not be able to find a comparable paying job. Life is hard. Live with the risk of going unarmed or live on a lower pay scale at a place where you can carry armed if you can't find a job that pays as well.

November 5, 2003, 12:46 PM
Several years ago, I remember reading that the Texas Building Owners & Manager's Association sent out a letter to its members addressing this issue. IIRC, the gist was that while there was NO liability in failing to post a PC30.06 sign to disarm CHL holders - after all, the STATE believed they were trustworthy by issuing a state license - there MIGHT be some liability if company policy disarmed a CHL holder who was then victimized by a bad guy on company property.

November 5, 2003, 01:51 PM
Oh, there's potential liability all right! In a civil suit all you (or your survivors) would need to show is that by forbidding CCW they prevented you from defending yourself. There are plenty of ways this could happen. If you have a CCW license from the state, the employer will be in the unfortunate position of explaining, to a jury from that state and locale, why it's anti-gun policy should override the choice of the sovereign state of XXX to trust you with a firearm. It's not a question of proving armed guards, its a matter of DISarming you under threat of termination even though the state says you're allowed to be armed.

So far this hasn't come up much. I believe there have been a few cases, one dealing with a contractor's rule forbidding firearms at an arctic research station. Ah, here it is Chaffin v. United States, 176 F.3d 1208 (9th Cir., 1999).

The relevant portion:

"Finally, Chaffin contends that the government's insistence on prohibiting firearms at the site creates an issue of fact as to the government's liability under Restatement § 410, which authorizes employer liability where the employer has given negligent instructions to an independent contractor, see Moloso, 644 P.2d at 217. Restatement § 410 provides:
The employer of an independent contractor is subject to the same liability for physical harm caused by an act or omission committed by the contractor pursuant to orders or directions negligently given by the employer, as though the act or omission were that of the employer himself.
The district court correctly observed that the government never gave the contractor any specific directions about bear safety. However, the record read in the light most favorable to Chaffin leaves unresolved questions about the relationship between the government as landowner and the contractor as Chaffin's employer."

Due to these issues of fact, the issue was sent back. I haven't heard about it since. But the holding means there was a jury issue on the prohibition of firearms, as well as several other issues. And this was a suit against the Gov'ment and its contractor--not an easy suit to bring to trial. A suit against a private employer would face no FTCA restrictions.

You could certainly argue that the presence of nogoodnicks, the high crime rate or whatever should have caused the employer to change its policy regarding firearms.

November 5, 2003, 02:02 PM
Or you could just follow the don't ask, don't tell policy of workplace carry.

November 5, 2003, 02:26 PM
That's what one of the contractors on the slope did, and he got punished for it even though his shotgun saved the lives of several men. IIRC, he brought a wrongful discharge suit against the contractor, and won.

November 5, 2003, 02:50 PM
I was told "that is what workers comp. is for" :fire:

I just do the clinton thing, don't ask, don't tell.


November 5, 2003, 10:03 PM
What if my company prohibited the wearing of seatbelts while driving on company business (and to/from work), prohibited vaccinations against disease, prohibited preventative visits to the doctor....just because I signed an agreement to comply, does this absolve my company from responsibility if I am harmed as a result of the policy. After all I did comply!!!

Where does personal responsibility come into play? Where do the rights guaranteed by GOD in the constitution end? Does the management at my company outranks GOD? :( I think the score isn't counted until after judgement day. That should make all of the control freak managers soil themselves!

Standing Wolf
November 6, 2003, 12:13 AM
I've heard jobs are much easier to replace than lives. I can't speak with authority, since I've never tried to replace my life, but have replaced some jobs over the years.

November 6, 2003, 12:33 AM
I don’t know the laws in Arizona, but in Wisconsin, the business is required to pay for all medical and rehabilitation costs in addition to lost wages. Doing anything illegal during the course of your employment could (and probably will) reduce the liability to your employer.

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