I am the safety director for a utility/construction company in Missouri. If we were to create a written policy to grant our employees the companies permission/blessing to carry on the job-site for self protection; what is the liability on the company if force were to be used while the employee is on the clock? Most of the employees do already carry, me included; but I would like to create a written program to establish safety procedures. Are we opening ourselves to greater liability by doing this? All workers use a company owned vehicle to go to and from the job-site. I had in mind to make a CCW safety course mandatory, and to carry concealed carry insurance for each employee who wishes to carry on the job. Our companies insurance company doesn’t seem to want to touch this on with a ten foot pole. Right now our policy is :don’t ask, don’t tell" I would like something a bit more concrete than this. Any insight would be helpful.
Welcome to the community, great first postf. Wish more companies were like you.
Standard reply, I am not a lawyer, not do I play one on TV.
I assume you are referring to electrical utilities?
What is states law regarding firearms on public land.
Do you have to go on people’s property? If so does your state require permission from homeowner concerning presence of firearms?
Do you have any prohibited person’s working for your company, who can not have access to firearms? That can be a problem, as there is some case law that can imply constructive possession.
My best advice, don’t forbid it but don’t put it in writing. If you do decide to allow make a CC permit a requirement of employment.
95% of our work takes place on public right-of-way. I’m not a bit concerned with their safety when they are at the shop, but we work all over the greater St. Louis area, and are in some very “shady” areas quite frequently.
I DO NOT mean “shady” in a racist way what-so-ever. Just areas of the city that are high in crime. Though I would qualify that.
So I am clear, I think that you allowing your employees to carry is admirable. Statistics are in your favor overwhelmingly. In "Concealed Carry: Fact vs Fiction CCW permit holders are 7 times less likely to offend than LEO of all types.
You haven’t mentioned yes or no but if you have a worker who is partnered with a felon. The non offender could be in trouble for providing constructive access @MikeBKY could probably answer that better .
Personally, I hope you are able to find a way to make it work. It would be a great way to say “look at xyz company”.
A friend of mine owns a game store but made a CCW license a part of the application process. It’s equally enforced so it’s not discriminatory.
I cannot respond right now but will tomorrow with the issues the company will need to consider.
I cannot offer any advice regarding your questions but I can commend you for your concern for your men & women in the field and their potential need for self protection.
Thank you @MikeBKY
I never really considered the felon issue. My concern here is for the company who accommodates their employees to carry concealed fire arms in the company vehicles. If there is a “bad” shooting, or even if it’s fully justified; can the victims family file suit against the company for allowing employees to carry, regardless of having specific training to do so? I’m more concerned with the “after the fact”, rather than the employees right to carry; which I believe is indisputable.
Well to use an old hoary Chestnut. The Pope can be sued for bastardy. So, yes the company could be sued. You would have to have a training program in place to show that an employee was properly trained and the company had done everything it could training wise. Then your attorneys and risk analysts would present you with a set of alternatives. Settle = x$, Settle and NDA is x+y , fight it to the end x+y+z .
Before I began my second real career I was a Regional VP for a company, and I fought everything and I won. Now I do things most people consider extreme. But eventually, the grifting attorneys out there realized I was a bad target, and it stopped.
Sorry it has taken so long but here is a general rundown on what the company needs to think about. I have read all of the other posts and there is a lot of wisdom in them, I am going to speak purely from a general legal perspective without specifics to MO law. As I always start, I am licenses to practice law in Kentucky and cannot give legal advice with respect to other jurisdictions so this is NOT legal advice.
Companies can take two stands on whether to allow employees to legally carry firearms, they can either let them or not. This would not apply to customers but could also potentially be applied to contractors.
We will start with an employer can be held responsible for the negligent acts of its employees. This is an agency theory called vicarious liability where the principal, the employer, is liable for the acts of its agents, the employees. This liability, however, is usually limited to acts done within the course and scope of employment. The simplest example of this is an employee is driving somewhere for work and causes an automobile accident.
Agency does not usually follow intentional acts. However, in some cases, where the employer has encouraged, condoned or endorsed the act(s), an agent can be held liable. The most common way for this to happen is when conduct occurs at the business and the business turns a blind eye to it, such as sexual harassment that is not addressed.
If a company allows employees to carry, they need to make decisions on how, when and where along with what requirements will the company place on the employees who are allowed to carry, if any.
Generally, the more the company does with respect to allowing employees to carry, the more likely the company will be to be held accountable for use or misuse of the weapon. For instance, not having a policy is not necessarily a bad thing. What might be better is to have a policy which says what cannot be done or carried in a company vehicle (or a person vehicle while being used for business) such as the use or possession of any illegal substances or objects.
If you are going to have a more elaborate policy, then it is a good idea to provide insurance, but insurers are going to have a hard time with it. You need to look to LEO/armed security policies if you want company coverage. You should, in this case, provide minimum qualifications, such as a permit, possibly annual qualifications and additional training.
As to the question about can the company be sued. In Kentucky, if you have $208 you can sue someone for a good, bad or almost no reason at all. Kroger is being sued here because they did nothing to stop an armed assailant from entering a store and killing 2 people. They now have a no open carry policy but it is not posted at the stores. Gun free zones are sued because they don’t have security to enforce their gun free zones. But no one wants to go through medical detectors or get wanded going to the store to get a gallon of milk. Legally right now, it is a free for all!
Again - not legal advice… my lawyer said to leave it out of the handbook instead of stating it was OK.
While this is a great philosophical discussion, I would 100% have this discussion with attorneys in your area who specialize in self-defense and also human resource issues. Corporate lawyers wouldn’t hurt either.
Why are you looking to make the policy more concrete?
One thing I forgot to say, which would probably have to happen before any policy took effect, is ask the company lawyers this question. They are gettin paid to review these issues and will be instrumental in moving any policy forward.
@Dawn, That is the right question. I may be opening as can of worms by creating a policy. I was just concerned about the fact that employees will be transporting fire arms in company vehicles to their job-site for the day. I’m simply looking out for the well-being of this small company. The owner has no problem with his employees protecting themselves, but if the worst happens; I want to make sure he is protected as well from the aftermath. That’s it.
That makes complete sense to me. I’d suggest talking with an attorney to see if the owner has any liability if there is a policy vs if there isn’t a policy.
Also, I’d ask if there was some sort of liability waiver that could be incorporated in the handbook if someone were to carry on the job.
This is definitely a question to take to an attorney. Sorry I couldn’t give you a concrete answer
@MikeBKY: Thank you very much for your insight, I understand that this was not legal advise. You, and others in this community; have given me much to ponder. It’s comforting to know that maybe the lack of a set policy might be the safest position to be in, being that is what we are doing. Missouri is a permit-less carry state: if you can legally own a firearm, you can carry it concealed. But I would like to have rule that if you want to transport your fire arm in a company vehicle to have it with you while you work for the day, then you must obtain a permit, which means safety training. But as you stated if I understood you correctly; that right there may open us up to additional avenues of accountability. Again, thank you so much for your wisdom on this subject; it is much appreciated.
Wow, I haven’t thought about a waiver. That’s a very good thing to discuss with out attorney as well. Thanks!
I had hoped Kroger would not succumb to leftist pressure, but they have not banned firearms completely.
The idea of suing a company for the actions of an individual is absurd and speaks volumes about the need for tort reform and some basic fundamental guidelines on lawsuits…
If Kroger or any other company can be sued for the actions of an individual… can we sue the state for building roads and the state not preventing people from recklessly operating automobiles or driving under the influence, or any other illegal operation of a motor vehicle?
It sounds like the leftists who want to sue firearms manufacturers, for the criminal actions of an individual… yet they do not sue the car manufacturers for the criminal actions of the individual driver or motor vehicle operator.
The individual who commits the crime, is the one to be held accountable.
If Kroger makes it unsafe, such as throwing oil or grease on their floors and makes them slippery, a lawsuit for injuries might be justified.
But, that is just my 2 cents…
I am not a lawyer… I do not play one on TV… and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
I had tried to reply and it did not, so I am doing it again.
There is also the principle of personal responsibility and holding those accountable for their actions.