Guns on Company Property: Think Twice Before Taking Action

Miller & Martin PLLC Alerts | April 13, 2015

by dstjohn

by Stacie Caraway

In the latest round of gun law regulations, Governor Bill Haslam has signed an amendment to Tennessee's "Guns in Trunks" law. The amendment allows employees to sue their employers if they are disciplined or fired for storing guns in their own personal cars which are parked in authorized areas of company lots. The amendment places the burden on employees to prove that they were disciplined or fired solely for having a properly stored gun on a company lot.

The amendment, which will become effective on July 1, 2015, was enacted to end the confusion surrounding Tennessee's 2013 "Guns in Trunks" law regarding that law's effect on employer rights in light of Tennessee's employment-at-will doctrine.

2013 Tennessee Gun Law Highlights

Some of you may recall that the 2013 law permits those with lawful carry permits to bring guns and ammunition onto private property, including their employer's premises, if the guns are stored in a trunk or other locked compartment out of view and the vehicle is parked in an otherwise authorized area.

The 2013 law also contains a "liability shield" provision stating that employers are not responsible for any personal injury or other damage caused if someone uses a properly possessed/stored gun on its property or the gun is stolen (presuming of course that the injury or damage was not at the employer's direction).

As always, should you have any questions regarding this new law, or your current weapon possession policies, please feel free to contact Jennifer Terry, John Bode or any other member of our Labor & Employment Law Practice Group.

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