With both constitutional and statutory protections for citizens to carry arms, businesses are faced with walking a fine line between providing a safe work environment, reducing business liability, protecting business reputation and standing, and restricting personal freedom.
The following guidelines may help business owners implement a safe weapons policy for a Texas business.
A business owner or a property owner does have the right to determine what can come onto their property or into their business, and this right supersedes the personal right to carry a weapon. So it is legal for a business to make a policy regarding weapons at work, in company cars, and during business activities.
A recent Texas statute reinforced an employee's right to have a personal weapon, properly secured, in a personal vehicle while parked on an employer's property. But other than this restriction, employees can face corrective and other job actions for work issues stemming from weapons use, including violating a company weapons policy.
A business weapons policy should address the presence of articles of 'combat, mayhem, and personal violence,' both purchased and hand made, in the workplace, in company cars, and in personal cars while engaged in company business. Businesses can, if they choose, allow weapons and provide a safe place for storage during business hours.
According to attorney Jake Posey, managing shareholder of The Posey Law Firm, businesses are required to provide a safe working environment, and allowing employees to carry personal weapons with which to defend themselves while on company business is not adequate for providing a safe workplace. If a business is asking employees to work in unsafe situations, and adequate structured safety measures cannot be employed, then employees need to have the risk addressed in job descriptions; they should be compensated for the risk; and they should be provided training about managing risk safely.
A business faces both liability and loss of reputation and standing in the community if a violent act using weapons is committed in the workplace, and no weapons policy is in place.
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