Does your employee manual discuss guns in the workplace? Does it need to?
The genesis of “How Should Employers Handle Guns in the Workplace” on page 14 was a conversation with a member of the Pavement Advisory Board, who said the topic had come up in conversations with other contractors. The thrust of those conversations was, what are a business owner’s rights and responsibilities concerning guns in the workplace? And what are an employee’s rights and responsibilities? And what are the liabilities if company policy prevents an employee from carrying a registered weapon – and what are the liabilities if a company allows doesn’t? Attorney Justin Boron, Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP, examines those and related issues through a Q & A in the article.
We bring this issue to readers because concealed carry is now the law in some form in all 50 states, and there’s a pretty good chance few companies have addressed it in their employee manual. It’s certainly not the only issue manuals don’t address – laws and company direction are always changing – so perhaps it’s time to examine and update (or create?) an employee manual. While many companies think development of this document is a time-consuming, tedious and unproductive process, a properly developed and utilized employee manual helps create the outlines of the work environment. It sets out expectations, defines roles, establishes procedures, describes consequences – and basically lets everyone know exactly what’s expected, what’s permitted and what happens if policies aren’t followed.
In short, an employee manual helps the company by transparently discussing what the company is all about. It protects the company and it protects the workers – whether the issue is guns in the workplace, off-the-job use of recreational marijuana, core values, training or any of a number of other issues.
Laws vary state to state, but recent changes mean many employee manuals are out of date – and possibly out of touch. A review of yours is in order – and if you don’t have one, you need to get one.