Weapons Policy at Work


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GhostRider66
January 27, 2014, 04:35 PM
Hi all,

So I've been working here for two years. The boss knows that I carry at work (valid CHL, etc.). Never has been an issue. Recently, they changed HR companies and I just found out that there has been a new employee handbook out there since the beginning of the year. The pertinent part reads as follows:

The Company has taken precautions in an attempt to make the facilities safe and secure. Firearms or other weapons are prohibited,
except for official purposes, or unless required for the position with prior approval from management and accompanied with proper
licensing. Locks have been installed in all points where security or privacy is required. Confidential records and files of the Company
are kept in a secure, locked area.
Weapons: The Company strictly prohibits unauthorized weapons of any type on company property, in vehicles owned or controlled by
The Company, and at any The Company-sponsored events. This includes visible and concealed weapons, even those for which the
owner has obtained the necessary permits. While this list is not all inclusive, weapons include firearms (whether loaded or unloaded),
knives with a blade longer than 1 1/2", any explosive materials, or any other object that could be used to harass, intimidate, injure, or kill
another individual.
Keys to facilities are issued to those employees who have need to access secure areas. Only employees authorized by management to
receive keys are to have them in their possession. The keys are not to be loaned to other employees or anyone else without the written
authorization of management.
Management reserves the right to conduct a search of all The Company-owned property, personal property on company premises, or
furnished items (desks, vehicles, lockers, packages, boxes, purses, etc.) for business-related purposes. If necessary, a search may be
conducted without prior notice. If there is a strong suspicion that an individual is in possession of a weapon and he or she is acting in
an unreasonable or threatening manner, the Police Department should be contacted immediately to intervene.
Generally, employees should not expect a level of privacy while using The Company equipment or while on company property.

:barf:

I spoke with the boss and the HR guy here. Boss says, "Don't worry about it." HR guy says that he spoke with that company, it's standard language and that I'm covered under the section about "required for the position" and "authorized by management". I am technically in charge of security around here but not a commissioned security guard (nor in uniform) as is required in Texas. I have nothing in writing from the boss. My feeling is that by Texas CHL rules, this leaves me in a really precarious situation legally speaking. Any other professional or amateur opinions on this out there?

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Nickel Plated
January 27, 2014, 04:46 PM
I'd say you have 4 choices here.

-If the boss is really OK with you carrying at work. Have him put it in writing.
-Don't carry.
-Find another job.
-Or carry, and hope noone that would have a problem with it finds out.

Whichever you do is really up to you.

ColtPythonElite
January 27, 2014, 04:47 PM
The written word is what you need to go by, not what someone told you.

Bubbles
January 27, 2014, 04:47 PM
I spoke with the boss and the HR guy here. Boss says, "Don't worry about it." HR guy says that he spoke with that company, it's standard language and that I'm covered under the section about "required for the position" and "authorized by management".
Words are useless: he-said, she-said won't help you if you're laid off for cause if a new boss or HR rep comes along and throws a fit. At the very least I would email both of them, refer to your conversation onn <date>, and reiterate your understanding that based on your questions and the answers they gave to you, you are good to go.

BCC the email to your personal email address, or forward a copy from your 'Sent Items' folder, to further cover your six. If they email you back stating that you are correct, even better, and forward the response to your personal email as well.

oneounceload
January 27, 2014, 04:52 PM
Writing takes precedence over third party verbiage. Either get it in writing or stop carrying.

GhostRider66
January 27, 2014, 04:55 PM
Secondary worry is that, per Texas law, the termination would not be worst of it. It is illegal to carry if the employer has notified you in any way to not carry.

Telekinesis
January 27, 2014, 04:56 PM
Best case would be to get your HR reps to just remove that section of the handbook (if they can) and you won't have to worry about all that. Never rely on verbal statements when it comes to something like this.

I'm not sure you'd technically be in the "required by the position" bucket unless you had HR add something into your official job description about you being allowed to carry. I'd also get the approval in writing by your superior and possibly his superior as well.

NavyLCDR
January 27, 2014, 05:11 PM
Secondary worry is that, per Texas law, the termination would not be worst of it. It is illegal to carry if the employer has notified you in any way to not carry.
I would like to see a reference to that law.

Queen_of_Thunder
January 27, 2014, 05:25 PM
Writing takes precedence over third party verbiage. Either get it in writing or stop carrying.
This.

Arkansas Paul
January 27, 2014, 05:28 PM
I tend to agree with those saying get it in writing or don't do it.
Chances are good that it won't become an issue but if it does, you don't want to be in court saying, "But.........they said............"

GhostRider66
January 27, 2014, 05:50 PM
I would like to see a reference to that law.

GC §411.203. RIGHTS OF EMPLOYERS. This subchapter does not prevent or otherwise limit the right of a public or private employer to prohibit persons who are licensed under this subchapter from carrying a concealed handgun on the premises of the business. In this section, “premises” has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035 (f)(3), Penal Code.

PC §30.06. TRESPASS BY HOLDER OF LICENSE TO CARRY CONCEALED HANDGUN. (a) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder:
(1) carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, on property of another without effective consent; and
(2) received notice that:
(A) entry on the property by a license holder with a concealed handgun was forbidden; or
(B) remaining on the property with a concealed handgun was forbidden and failed to depart.
(b) For purposes of this section, a person receives notice if the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner provides notice to the person by oral or written communication.
(c) In this section:
(1) “Entry” has the meaning assigned by Section 30.05(b).
(2) “License holder” has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035(f).
(3) “Written communication” means:
(A) a card or other document on which is written language identical to the following: “Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun”; or
(B) a sign posted on the property that:
(i) includes the language described by Paragraph (A) in both English and Spanish;
(ii) appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
(iii) is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.
(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(e) It is an exception to the application of this section that the property on which the license holder carries a handgun is owned or leased by a governmental entity and is not a premises or other place on which the license holder is prohibited from carrying the handgun under Section 46.03 or 46.035.
My understanding from CHL class was that an employer communicating this in any format whatsoever makes the premises a prohibited place and therefore, makes the offending employee subject to criminal action as well.

JRH6856
January 27, 2014, 06:03 PM
I would like to see a reference to that law.
See this, pg 25, sec411.203 (https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/internetforms/Forms/CHL-16.pdf)

bikerdoc
January 27, 2014, 06:07 PM
Get permission in writing.

Many years ago I was the head night nurse at a facility. The administer asked me to carry as we had a few problems because of our location but would not give me the written exemption from the HR rules.
I told her NO.

larryh1108
January 27, 2014, 06:32 PM
Verbal permission is worth the paper it's written on.
You have the employee handbook guidelines in writing.
You don't have permission to carry in writing.
When push comes to shove, guess which one wins in a court of law?

BSA1
January 27, 2014, 06:36 PM
Is Texas a Right to Work State?

If so written permission or security functions added to your job discription will help you avoid criminal charge. I'll also bet a conviction will result in loss of your CWP.

If Texas is a Right to Work State then your employment can be terminated at any time without cause.

Since misdemeanor conviction also will probably screw you out of ever getting your CWP back until H.R. changes it's policy in writing I would not risk it.

How big is this company anyway? Do you have access to the head honcho?

Bubbles
January 27, 2014, 09:57 PM
If Texas is a Right to Work State then your employment can be terminated at any time without cause.
Right to Work has nothing to do with termination. Right to Work means you do not have to join a union to be employed. You are thinking of At Will employment. Texas is an At Will state as well as a Right to Work state.

To the OP - see the common theme here? GET IT IN WRITING.

NavyLCDR
January 27, 2014, 10:10 PM
Secondary worry is that, per Texas law, the termination would not be worst of it. It is illegal to carry if the employer has notified you in any way to not carry.I would like to see a reference to that law.See this, pg 25, sec411.203 (https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/internetforms/Forms/CHL-16.pdf)

And my challenge is still there. Show me the law that makes it ILLEGAL to carry the firearm if the employer has notified the employee in any way not to carry. When a private party "prohibits" something on their property, that does not make it "illegal". Private parties cannot make laws. I can "prohibit" cell phones on my property, if I want to. That does not make it ILLEGAL to carry a cell phone on my property, it means I can kick you off my property for carrying a cell phone and if you don't leave then I can have you arrested for TRESPASSING - not for just carrying a cell phone.

That's what the Texas law means. The employer can prohibit firearms carried by employees on the premises of the business. And unless there is a proper Texas 30.06 sign posted, the employee carrying the gun must leave the property when told to or be subject to arrest for TRESPASSING, not for carrying the gun.

JRH6856
January 27, 2014, 10:32 PM
That's what the Texas law means. The employer can prohibit firearms carried by employees on the premises of the business.

And that is what I thought you wanted to see. My mistake.

NavyLCDR
January 27, 2014, 11:48 PM
And that is what I thought you wanted to see. My mistake.
No problem. I was challenging only the "it is illegal to carry" part :-), not the employer's right to prohibit firearms on their property (except Texas law requires employers to allow storage of firearms in employees' vehicles, IIRC.)

Kleanbore
January 28, 2014, 09:12 AM
Posed by NavyLCDR: Show me the law that makes it ILLEGAL to carry the firearm if the employer has notified the employee in any way not to carry.Section 30.06 derives the carrying of a gun by a prohibited person on private premises as criminal trespass--which is illegal.

That's what the Texas law means. The employer can prohibit firearms carried by employees on the premises of the business.Yes indeed.

Private parties cannot make laws.True, but completely irrelevant.

And unless there is a proper Texas 30.06 sign posted, the employee carrying the gun must leave the property when told to or be subject to arrest for TRESPASSING, not for carrying the gun.The sign is not required to prohibit the carrying of a firearm on the premises by an employee if the prohibition has been otherwise communicated.

And since the crime of criminal trespass would not have been committed but for the carrying of the gun, to say that carrying the gun on the premises--which, incidentally, means inside the building--is not illegal seems a bit like quibbling.

longknife12
January 28, 2014, 09:48 AM
Before I retired, I had owner write a letter that I was authorized to carry concealed and put in my file. CYA
Dan

Tirod
January 28, 2014, 10:12 AM
Getting Corporate to change the wording won't fly, they would have to publicly disagree with their HR source, who they handed off to in the first place. They basically don't care.

Anyway, what your boss can do is put together a written description of your job position, responsibilities, and duties, which can incorporate the necessary inclusion to carry. Less fuss or muss, you have it in writing. If or when Corporate sticks their nose into it, then go from there.

HR policies these days are more restrictive and eliminate the worker's Constitutional Rights on an increasing level. Having been in the service, those of us who served know you have almost no rights, you signed them away for the money. It's now coming down to the same thing in civilian life, the "HR" departments have taken the stand that no guns are better than letting employees exercise their own discretion. Unfortunately, they have their examples why, such as shooting the toilet, or retrieving the firearm from their vehicle to escalate a showdown. There is also the property rights issue - if you can carry on their property, then any friend or neighbor can carry on yours, it's the same thing.

We tend to want to extend our rights onto others without considering they can extend onto ours. It's a balancing act, and it's going to likely hinge on whether the property is considered "public," the way a recent decision over carry on Corps of Engineers land is being handled. It will take years to get an answer, and it may not be what we like, considering case law that allows documents not based on the Constitution will be involved.

While it isn't likely a major impediment to your continued employment, clearing it up will help you understand more about how the Corporate climate operates and if you are willing to put up with it. Since retiring from the same job after 25 or 30 years isn't likely itself, keep your resume polished, and more importantly, your business contacts current. One of them IS a future employer, that is the reality of today's workplace.

NavyLCDR
January 28, 2014, 03:13 PM
And since the crime of criminal trespass would not have been committed but for the carrying of the gun, to say that carrying the gun on the premises--which, incidentally, means inside the building--is not illegal seems a bit like quibbling.

Quibbling in court can mean the difference between being convicted and being acquitted. I guess it only matters how important your freedom is to you.

Here's the exact Texas statute, so the employer can either inform the employee by any means orally - but the written communition must be exactly specific and the charge is tresassing, not illegally carrying a firearm:

Sec. 30.06. TRESPASS BY HOLDER OF LICENSE TO CARRY CONCEALED HANDGUN.

(a) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder:

(1) carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, on property of another without effective consent; and

(2) received notice that:

(A) entry on the property by a license holder with a concealed handgun was forbidden; or

(B) remaining on the property with a concealed handgun was forbidden and failed to depart.

(b) For purposes of this section, a person receives notice if the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner provides notice to the person by oral or written communication.

(c) In this section:

(1) "Entry" has the meaning assigned by Section 30.05(b).

(2) "License holder" has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035(f).

(3) "Written communication" means:

(A) a card or other document on which is written language identical to the following: "Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun"; or

(B) a sign posted on the property that:

(i) includes the language described by Paragraph (A) in both English and Spanish;
(ii) appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
(iii) is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

You can call it quibbling if you want to, but if I was before the judge and the employee handbook did not meet the requirements of (A) above you better believe I would be showing it to the judge/jury, in addition to requiring the employer to prove that they informed me orally. I don't see how what the OP posted as being written in the employee manual even comes close to meeting the requirement for written notification. And the "oral notification" came in the form of "don't worry about it." Have a nice day.

ilbob
January 28, 2014, 03:23 PM
I am technically in charge of security around here but not a commissioned security guard (nor in uniform) as is required in Texas.

I do not know what this sentence means exactly but it suggests a precarious legal and employment situation for you.

I do not like it when people use the word "technically" to describe this situation. It is not unusual for the security guards to report to the maintenance director. That does not mean he is authorized by either the company or the state to carry a firearm as part of his duties.

larryh1108
January 28, 2014, 03:55 PM
Bob, the "technically" part is reason enough for management to put in writing their permission to allow you to carry on their premises. It should satisfy HR who are just a bunch of paper pushers who have no clue what a Head of Security actually does.

ilbob
January 28, 2014, 05:40 PM
in this context "technically" has no legal meaning. he either is or is not head of security. he either is or is not authorized by the company and/or by the state to be armed.

it is like saying "basically" he is head of security. it just does not mean anything specific enough to comment on.

I knew a guy once was "basically" the bouncer at a local bar. he was never paid by the bar owner other then with free drinks. You think his status was not at least irregular?

The problem is that as long as nothing bad happens it probably won't matter any.

But what happens if he has to shoot someone? Is the company going to stand behind him if the only thing in writing says he is not supposed to be armed and there is nothing in writing saying he is chief of security?

What happens after a shooting if it turns out there are legal requirements he has not met that are required of security personnel in TX?

i don't know that there is any requirement that a "head of security" be armed. maybe in TX. But up here, the vast majority of companies do not want armed guards any more. They just are not real common.

mugsie
January 28, 2014, 06:54 PM
I am not a lawyer. I am an old fart. Period. That being said, you're screwed if anything happens. Alive, since you would be able to defend yourself, but in all probability sans a job since the employer will CTA and terminate your employment.

On the other hand, since they posted it's a gun free zone since they are prohibited, nothing will ever happen. Bad guys always respect the laws.

JRH6856
January 28, 2014, 07:59 PM
i don't know that there is any requirement that a "head of security" be armed. maybe in TX. But up here, the vast majority of companies do not want armed guards any more. They just are not real common.

There is no requirement in Texas that a "head of security" or a security guard or officer be armed. But there is a legal requirement that an armed security officer be commissioned as such by the State of Texa (http://www.dps.texas.gov/rsd/psb/docs/Chap1702OccCodeClean.pdf)s.

OCC §1702.161. SECURITY OFFICER COMMISSION REQUIRED.
(a) An individual may not accept employment as a security officer to carry a firearm in the course and scope of the individual's duties unless the individual holds a security officer commission.
(b) An individual employed as a security officer may not knowingly carry a firearm during the course of performing duties as a security officer unless the board has issued a security officer commission to the individual.
(c) A person may not hire or employ an individual as a security officer to carry a firearm in the course and scope of the individual's duties unless the individual holds a security officer commission.

A written confirmation that he needs to be armed to act as a security officer just places both him and the company in violation.

ilbob
January 29, 2014, 07:17 AM
There is no requirement in Texas that a "head of security" or a security guard or officer be armed. But there is a legal requirement that an armed security officer be commissioned as such by the State of Texa (http://www.dps.texas.gov/rsd/psb/docs/Chap1702OccCodeClean.pdf)s.

OCC §1702.161. SECURITY OFFICER COMMISSION REQUIRED.
(a) An individual may not accept employment as a security officer to carry a firearm in the course and scope of the individual's duties unless the individual holds a security officer commission.
(b) An individual employed as a security officer may not knowingly carry a firearm during the course of performing duties as a security officer unless the board has issued a security officer commission to the individual.
(c) A person may not hire or employ an individual as a security officer to carry a firearm in the course and scope of the individual's duties unless the individual holds a security officer commission.

A written confirmation that he needs to be armed to act as a security officer just places both him and the company in violation.
are there no exceptions to this general rule? IL has similar rules about armed guards but I think there are also some exceptions. I think one of the exceptions is for those employing a small number of armed guards. I don't know if it is still true but at one time as long as they were working directly for a company you could have either 3 or maybe it was 5 armed guards without any special requirements.

oneounceload
January 29, 2014, 09:24 AM
HR policies these days are more restrictive and eliminate the worker's Constitutional Rights

This does not apply in the private sector for this scenario

BSA1
January 29, 2014, 09:55 AM
The O.P has not provided any more information about the size of his company and why he is carrying at work.

Outsourcing administrative functions such as payroll, accounting, human resources has become common with many companies.

In his companies case the new H.R. policy may be a "generic" statement they use rather than going to the trouble of developing a tailor made policy for each new client.

Being shy and bashful person (NOT!) I would address my concerns directly with upper management in the company. It could well be management has not given the issue any thought.

jonnyc
January 29, 2014, 10:07 AM
"or any other object that could be used to harass, intimidate, injure, or kill
another individual."

I thought this bit rather all-encompassing and potentially problematic. Is there anything that it DOESN'T include???

JRH6856
January 29, 2014, 01:01 PM
are there no exceptions to this general rule? IL has similar rules about armed guards but I think there are also some exceptions. I think one of the exceptions is for those employing a small number of armed guards. I don't know if it is still true but at one time as long as they were working directly for a company you could have either 3 or maybe it was 5 armed guards without any special requirements.
There are no exceptions in the statute. Armed security officers must be commissioned by the state.

A company could allow its employees to be armed, but it can't call them security officers or employ the, primarily for this purpose.

The Lone Haranguer
January 29, 2014, 01:30 PM
It doesn't say all weapons are banned, period, just unauthorized ones. Any chance you can be authorized?

BSA1
January 31, 2014, 08:47 AM
Just a late thought.

If you are terminated for cause (violation company rules) it will delay you collecting unemployment benefits.

And how are you going to explain getting fired for packing heat when applying for jobs?

GhostRider66
January 31, 2014, 04:02 PM
I took the advice (thank you all kindly) and went to my boss (owner of the company as well). I calmly explained that if that policy was not removed or at the very least greatly changed, I would not be able to carry and would not want to remain in his employ. Based on a recommendation from our internal HR guy (as best I could gather) he, instead, wrote up, printed and signed a formal exception for me that explicitly allows me to carry at work and while on any and all company business. Problem solved for me. Not to seem entirely ungrateful but this does nothing for other employees who may also want to carry here. It's not in the best of neighborhoods. I think my experience is still going to lead me out the door eventually here.

NavyLCDR
January 31, 2014, 04:58 PM
I took the advice (thank you all kindly) and went to my boss (owner of the company as well). I calmly explained that if that policy was not removed or at the very least greatly changed, I would not be able to carry and would not want to remain in his employ. Based on a recommendation from our internal HR guy (as best I could gather) he, instead, wrote up, printed and signed a formal exception for me that explicitly allows me to carry at work and while on any and all company business. Problem solved for me. Not to seem entirely ungrateful but this does nothing for other employees who may also want to carry here. It's not in the best of neighborhoods. I think my experience is still going to lead me out the door eventually here.

Maybe before pointing the finger at the employers, you might want to comply with the Texas law. Seems to me like they are sticking their necks out pretty far for you:

OCC §1702.161. SECURITY OFFICER COMMISSION REQUIRED.
(a) An individual may not accept employment as a security officer to carry a firearm in the course and scope of the individual's duties unless the individual holds a security officer commission.
(b) An individual employed as a security officer may not knowingly carry a firearm during the course of performing duties as a security officer unless the board has issued a security officer commission to the individual.
(c) A person may not hire or employ an individual as a security officer to carry a firearm in the course and scope of the individual's duties unless the individual holds a security officer commission.

JRH6856
January 31, 2014, 06:05 PM
^^^^ Yes, be sure that "written exception" does not designate you as an armed security officer or state that you need to be armed to provide any security services. The only reason for being armed should be for your personal protection concerns.

Jorg Nysgerrig
January 31, 2014, 06:24 PM
Well-written policies should include the title of the person with the authority to authorize exceptions. YMMV, but I know I'd certainly want better assurance than a note from a middle manager based on a recommendation from the local HR guy.

GhostRider66
January 31, 2014, 06:27 PM
Yeah, really nothing mentioned anywhere about security. Just says that I am allowed to carry my weapon concealed. His thoughts on what I may or may not do if an incident may arise might vary wildly. I'll not bring it up as he has not. As far as I'm concerned, when he said, "head of security", it entails IT security and making sure the shredding bins get emptied.

GhostRider66
January 31, 2014, 06:29 PM
note from a middle manager

Psst. He owns all seven companies here. He's the lead attorney for the law firm. I think I'm solid.

Jorg Nysgerrig
January 31, 2014, 06:41 PM
I apologize for missing the part about him being the owner.

Trent
January 31, 2014, 08:21 PM
I took the advice (thank you all kindly) and went to my boss (owner of the company as well). I calmly explained that if that policy was not removed or at the very least greatly changed, I would not be able to carry and would not want to remain in his employ. Based on a recommendation from our internal HR guy (as best I could gather) he, instead, wrote up, printed and signed a formal exception for me that explicitly allows me to carry at work and while on any and all company business. Problem solved for me.

Congrats!

Level heads often prevail.

And you've set a good example that other concerned employees can exercise if they choose.

At my IT company we have "bring your gun to work days" and our team building events usually occur at the local sportsman's club with guns in our hands sending lead downrange. :)

gamestalker
February 1, 2014, 02:41 AM
I would venture to guess that any legal action would only apply if you refused to comply after the initial request from "The Company". Although you were already informed, I do believe someone must specifically and directly make such a request to you verbally.

I don't know much about Texas law in this respect, but here in Arizona business's with a "Gun Free" sign posted doesn't result with someone being cited until they have refused to remove the firearm from the building when told to do so. Here in Az., about the worst that could happen, provided you comply, is you would be terminated, but not cited unless you refuse to comply. But again, this is in Az. where gun rights are protected to about the highest degree.

I was approached in a local mall a while back while OC carrying. And even though a sign was posted, the cop told me I would not be cited because I complied when told to remove it from the mall. He may have just given me a break since I entered through doors in which a sign wasn't posted, and that I honestly wasn't aware of the signs that did exist?


GS

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