Firearm in vehicle at work

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jb2012
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Firearm in vehicle at work

#1

Post by jb2012 » Wed May 29, 2019 12:42 am

Not sure where this goes but seemed political enough in nature to go here.

I work for a company outside of Austin that maintains a strict no firearms policy. There are level 3 armed security guards at every gate entrance, that think they are cops and take their job way to seriously. Recently we were required to sign a sheet saying that we were not allowed to have any firearms (among other things such as drugs) in our vehicle, and that we are subject to a personal and vehicle search at any time. If found in posession (locked in your vehicle) you will face termination.

If I understand correctly, an employee has the right to keep firearms in their vehicle, in the state of Texas. Am I correct? What can I do to fight this? I really like my job and do not want to lose it over a bogus rule that doesn’t follow Texas law to begin with.

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Flightmare
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#2

Post by Flightmare » Wed May 29, 2019 1:36 am

You are correct, in that an employer may not prohibit an employee from storing his weapon in his own personal vehicle, with some exceptions.

https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/82R/b ... 00321F.HTM

SB 321 of the 82nd legislative session.

Unfortunately, I am unable to find any penalties for companies who elect to violate this law. To my knowledge, there are no teeth for this law. I may be mistaken though. IANAL
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#3

Post by bbhack » Wed May 29, 2019 2:09 am

I would enjoy writing them a note informing them of state law. One might find a hungry lawyer to take a wrongful termination suit on contingency.
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#4

Post by oohrah » Wed May 29, 2019 6:17 am

The problem will be that it will be hard to prove wrongful termination since Texas is an “at will” state. They don’t have to give any reason for firing you. The parking lot law only protects you from prosecution for trespass, or other prosecution. IANAL.
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#5

Post by Tex1961 » Wed May 29, 2019 6:40 am

Just use a lock box. And if they want to search your car tell them you don’t have the keys with you and it’s empty anyway. They can’t break into it.
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#6

Post by Soccerdad1995 » Wed May 29, 2019 8:26 am

oohrah wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 6:17 am
The problem will be that it will be hard to prove wrongful termination since Texas is an “at will” state. They don’t have to give any reason for firing you. The parking lot law only protects you from prosecution for trespass, or other prosecution. IANAL.
IANAL either, but I'm almost certain that the bolded part is incorrect. The parking lot law explicitly protects you against termination on the basis of having a stored weapon in your vehicle.

I do agree that it will be difficult to prove, but having a written document stating their intent to use this as the basis for termination should be pretty strong evidence. Especially coupled with the fact that a termination occurred shortly after a firearm was discovered in your car. It would be equivalent to being fired for being Jewish. Difficult to prove. But made much easier if the company was dumb enough to have you sign a written document that stated you would be terminated if discovered to be of that faith. (This is just an example, and I picked a religion at random).

In fact, since the company apparently believes they can terminate employees on this basis, they might not even hide their reasoning in the first place.
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#7

Post by rtschl » Wed May 29, 2019 10:24 am

IANAL... I wouldn't "fight it". I would just keep quiet. If you let them know that Texas law prohibits them from terminating you for having a weapon in your vehicle, they might state a different reason for the termination. If they are as anti-gun as you state, I would fear they might find a reason to terminate you for bringing it to their attention because they will assume you have a weapon in your vehicle. As stated above they could just let you go for no reason since Texas is an at will state.

I do hope you kept a copy of the sheet you signed. I agree with Soccerdad1995 that they have given you possible evidence of wrongful termination if they do find you have a weapon and subsequently terminate you.
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#8

Post by jmorris » Wed May 29, 2019 10:34 am

I'm tempted to PM for the name of the company. I'd write requesting a copy of this policy to use in my LTC classes as an example of a violation of Texas state law.
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#9

Post by dhoobler » Wed May 29, 2019 10:53 am

Attorney General opinion GA 972:

https://www2.texasattorneygeneral.gov/o ... ga0972.pdf
No statute of which we are aware provides a specific remedy for employees whose employers violate section 52.061. And the Legislature has not authorized this office or any other state agency to take corrective action. Despite the lack of a statutory remedy, an aggrieved employee may, depending on the circumstances, have the ability to sue an offending employer under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act.
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#10

Post by Soccerdad1995 » Wed May 29, 2019 11:00 am

dhoobler wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 10:53 am
Attorney General opinion GA 972:

https://www2.texasattorneygeneral.gov/o ... ga0972.pdf
No statute of which we are aware provides a specific remedy for employees whose employers violate section 52.061. And the Legislature has not authorized this office or any other state agency to take corrective action. Despite the lack of a statutory remedy, an aggrieved employee may, depending on the circumstances, have the ability to sue an offending employer under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act.
Can someone interpret this for us non-lawyer types?

My layperson reading is that termination on this basis would be a violation of law. That violation does not have a proscribed penalty, but you could sue for damages that result from this illegal act (like lost wages, costs of finding a new job, etc). Is this kinda sorta correct?
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#11

Post by montgomery » Wed May 29, 2019 11:06 am

jb2012 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:42 am
Not sure where this goes but seemed political enough in nature to go here.

I work for a company outside of Austin that maintains a strict no firearms policy. There are level 3 armed security guards at every gate entrance, that think they are cops and take their job way to seriously. Recently we were required to sign a sheet saying that we were not allowed to have any firearms (among other things such as drugs) in our vehicle, and that we are subject to a personal and vehicle search at any time. If found in posession (locked in your vehicle) you will face termination.

If I understand correctly, an employee has the right to keep firearms in their vehicle, in the state of Texas. Am I correct? What can I do to fight this? I really like my job and do not want to lose it over a bogus rule that doesn’t follow Texas law to begin with.
Unless you work at a Federal building, including a US Post Office, or at Superfund site, then you are good to go no matter what your employer says because Texas law is clear that parking lots are NOT premises AND your vehicle is an extension of your domicile. Period.

If you work at a Federal facility or Superfund site, the law is not on your side.

I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.

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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#12

Post by C-dub » Wed May 29, 2019 11:12 am

IIRC, there are a few exceptions to the parking lot law depending on exactly what type of business the employer is in and what type of fencing and or security is used. It’s been a little while since I’ve looked at this, but since the OP mentioned armed security at every gate it makes me wonder what type of business this is and if they might be one of those exceptions.
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jb2012
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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#13

Post by jb2012 » Wed May 29, 2019 1:13 pm

So to answer a few questions:

1. I work for a liquor distillery, so in theory that could be a caveat to the law, however I don’t think it would apply to being in a vehicle. When I worked at a bar there was no statutory rules about not keeping firearms in vehicles.

2. The parking lot is fenced in as well as the main facility, requiring a guarded gate, and then keypass entry from the parking lot into the facilities.

3. I managed to buy myself some time, and have not signed anything yet. If I do end up signing I will absolutely make sure to keep a copy.

4. The plan so far was to buy a safe and “lose the keys” while at work in order to avoid conflict.

Thanks everyone for the feedback so far


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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#14

Post by montgomery » Wed May 29, 2019 1:21 pm

jb2012 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:13 pm
So to answer a few questions:

1. I work for a liquor distillery, so in theory that could be a caveat to the law, however I don’t think it would apply to being in a vehicle. When I worked at a bar there was no statutory rules about not keeping firearms in vehicles.

2. The parking lot is fenced in as well as the main facility, requiring a guarded gate, and then keypass entry from the parking lot into the facilities.

3. I managed to buy myself some time, and have not signed anything yet. If I do end up signing I will absolutely make sure to keep a copy.

4. The plan so far was to buy a safe and “lose the keys” while at work in order to avoid conflict.

Thanks everyone for the feedback so far
What does the parking lot at a liquor distillery have to do with lawfully concealing a firearm in your vehicle? Liquor distilleries are not Federal and not Superfund sites.


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Re: Firearm in vehicle at work

#15

Post by rotor » Wed May 29, 2019 1:56 pm

Does your workplace fit in the following?


Similarly, the law exempts from coverage property owned or leased by a chemical manufacturer or oil and gas refiner with an air authorization under Chapter 382, Health and Safety Code, and on which “the primary business conducted is the manufacture, use, storage or transport of hazardous, combustible or explosive material,” unless the manufacturer or refiner provides a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area that is outside of a secured and restricted area that contains a physical plant, is closed to the public, and the entrance to which is constantly monitored by security.

If so then you can't have a gun in your car. Liquor distillery might be one of those forbidden firearm places regarding firearms in your car.

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