Employees Given New Cause Of Action For “Guns In Trunks”

 

By R. Joseph Leibovich
(901) 328-8269

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam this week signed into law a “clarification” of the state’s so called “Guns In Trunks” Law.

The original law, passed in 2013 (Tenn. Code Ann. 39-17-1313)¬†gave individuals with a carry permit the right to store their handguns in their cars on any parking lot they were entitled to be on, including their employer’s.

An Attorney General’s opinion stated that while the law legally allowed permit holders to store their guns, nothing in the law prohibited employers for firing individuals who did so in violation of company policy.

This week, Governor Haslam signed Tenn Code Ann 50-1-312, which, in part states “No employer shall discharge or take any adverse employment action against an employee solely for transporting or storing a firearm or firearm ammunition in an employer parking area…”

The law does specifically state that an employee bringing a cause of action under this statute has the burden of proof of showing that adverse employment action was based solely on the employee’s possession or transportation of a handgun or ammunition.

The “solely” standard is often a difficult one for a plaintiff to meet, but employers do need to be cognizant of this new law and be sure that terminations or other adverse actions are for articulable, genuine reasons other than an employee’s lawful storage of a weapon in their car.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Tennessee employers should review their handbooks and potentially tweak any weapons policies they may have in place.

The new law goes into effect July 1, 2015.

Photo by http://flickr.com/photos/glasgows/ (http://flickr.com/photos/glasgows/432945997/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons