On Monday, December 19, 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 199, a controversial piece of legislation intended to expand concealed carry laws for firearms in Ohio. Although originally limited to exempting active military members from concealed handgun license requirements, the House State Government Committee amended the bill several times during the lame duck session to more significantly expand concealed carry laws statewide.
Important for Ohio businesses is a SB 199 provision that prohibits employers from banning firearms in employee vehicles. SB 199 also specifies that an employer is not liable for incidents arising from a stored firearm. The bill originally included controversial language making concealed handgun licensees a protected class under employment discrimination laws, but that provision was ultimately removed. Below is a summary of the remaining employer-related provisions:
Firearms in Employee Vehicles
Employers may no longer prohibit employees with valid concealed handgun licenses from transporting or storing a firearm on employer property so long as the following conditions are met:
- Each firearm remains inside the employee’s vehicle, while the employee is present, or each firearm is locked within the trunk, glove box, or other closed compartment; and
- The vehicle is in an authorized location.1
SB 199 specifies that employers will not be held liable for damages resulting from an employee’s storage or transportation of a firearm, unless the employer intentionally solicited the injurious actions.2
SB 199 takes effect March 20, 2017. In the meantime, employers should take a look at their employee handbooks and policies and ensure they will be compliant with the new law. Many employer policies on the topic of weapons tend to prohibit them from being in employee vehicles on their premises. Such a policy would violate SB 199. As such, employers should speak to employment counsel to revise any relevant policies.
The other issue for employers is with Ohio’s public policy tort of wrongful termination in violation of public policy. While eleventh-hour wrestling removed certain provisions of SB 199 that would have put “concealed handgun licensure” on par with other statutorily-protected classification, such as gender, race, disability, age, ancestry, and others, Ohio’s public-policy tort makes it illegal for an employer to terminate an employee for engaging in protected conduct. As such, while have a concealed handgun license is not statutorily protected as a class, employers are arguably prohibited from terminating an employee for exercising their rights in Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.1210, which will protect the right of a person who has been issued a valid concealed handgun license to transport or store a firearm inside the person’s privately-owned vehicle while parked on an employer’s property. So, if an employer terminates an employee for lawfully storing a firearm in the employee’s personal vehicle on the employer’s property, the employee could likely file a wrongful termination in violation of public policy claim.
1 R.C. 2923.1210(A).
2 R.C. 2923.1210(B).
This client alert is published by Dickinson Wright PLLC to inform our clients and friends of important developments in the field of labor and employment law. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. We encourage you to consult a Dickinson Wright attorney if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered in here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Sara H. Jodka is Of Counsel in Dickinson Wright’s Columbus office. She can be reached at 614.744.2943 or email@example.com.
William V. Vorys is an Associate in Dickinson Wright’s Columbus office. He can be reached at 614.744.2936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like a printable version of this labor and employment client alert, click here.
- Industry Alerts Ohio Adopts Preemption Legislation, Blocking Local Minimum Wage Hikes and Other Local Employer Restriction Proposals
- Industry Alerts Ohio Governor Signs “Alternate Employer Organization” Legislation
- Industry Alerts Sara Jodka Discusses Future of NLRB Under President-Elect Biden with SHRM Online
- November 13, 2020 Blogs 2020 USCIS I-9 Guidance Round-Up
- October 23, 2020 Industry Alerts Governor Whitmer Signs COVID-19 Legislation Applicable to All Employers
- September 30, 2020 Industry Alerts 従業員の20％以上を解雇する場合の隠れたコスト - 退職年金プランの部分的終了 | The Hidden Cost of Terminating 20% or More of Your Employees – Partial Termination of the Retirement Plan
- September 2020 Blogs 米国移民局の予算危機と米国移民制度への潜在的影響 | The USCIS Budget Crisis and Its Potential Impact on the U.S. Immigration System
- August 2020 Blogs ラストチャンス契約―有用なツールです。| Last Chance Agreements – A Useful Tool
- July 13, 2020 Blogs COVID-19 感染が OSHA の指針に基づく「業務に関連した」「記録される対象の」ものであるかどうかの判断 | Determining When a COVID-19 Illness Is “Work-Related” And “Recordable” Under OSHA Guidance