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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How about this scenario:

Company policy states employees cannot bring weapons to work or kept in the car. They reserve the right to search desks, purses, cars, etc., and that if a weapon is found, they can terminate the employee.

Now, what if the employer doesn't own the parking lot? They lease a suite in the building, but have no ownership of the building or parking lot.

Can they legally restrict an employee from keeping a gun in the car on what is not their property and where no signs forbiding weapons are posted? Can they actually search a car that is on property they don't own?
 

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Simple answer: carry concealed and you don't have to worry about any of the questions you just asked
 

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What you describe is basically what happened at AOL in Ogden a number of years ago. Employees were fired when they were seen transferring guns from one car to another after work to go to the range.

It went all the way to the Utah Supreme Court where AOL won. :disgusted:

You might consider parking a bit further away so that you are nowhere near anyplace that the company leases parking.
 

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This question has always struck me as odd given the Utah Uniform Law
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76-10-500. Uniform law.
(1) The individual right to keep and bear arms being a constitutionally protected right, the Legislature finds the need to provide uniform laws throughout the state. Except as specifically provided by state law, a citizen of the United States or a lawfully admitted alien shall not be:
(a) prohibited from owning, possessing, purchasing, selling, transferring, transporting, or keeping any firearm at his place of residence, property, business, or in any vehicle lawfully in his possession or lawfully under his control; or
(b) required to have a permit or license to purchase, own, possess, transport, or keep a firearm.
(2) This part is uniformly applicable throughout this state and in all its political subdivisions and municipalities. All authority to regulate firearms shall be reserved to the state except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility to local authorities or state entities. Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or rule pertaining to firearms.
- - - - -
 

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wow... good point, Dr. Dave!!! Makes ya think...
 

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I would also believe that as Utah incorporates within its constitution the Constitution of the United States, that Article IV would be being violated, at the least. I say if they don't provide a legitimate search warrant then they have no right to violate your constitutionally Guaranteed Rights. In other words, I believe they would be committing a crime by violating your inherent rights and possibly setting themselves up for illegal search/seizure charges and a nice padding of your wallet should they violates your personal property in the way described.
 

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Cinhil said:
I would also believe that as Utah incorporates within its constitution the Constitution of the United States, that Article IV would be being violated, at the least. I say if they don't provide a legitimate search warrant then they have no right to violate your constitutionally Guaranteed Rights. In other words, I believe they would be committing a crime by violating your inherent rights and possibly setting themselves up for illegal search/seizure charges and a nice padding of your wallet should they violates your personal property in the way described.
Sorry to burst your bubble but the constitution only limits government not private businessmen. It's like if I break into my neighbors house that is dealing drugs and seize evidence, that evidence is admissible in court.
 

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If the parking lot is not owned by them then the business owner has no inherent right to violate a citizens constitutionally guaranteed rights. In Utah, this would be better clarified if the legislature would actually approve a measure ensuring this would be the case, ie the car carry law which has been being pursued since the debacle at AOL.
No bubble burst here, I know violations of constitutional rights happen everyday, it still doesn't make it right, or appropriate. Those who do violate these rights, especially on other peoples property, not held on property they own. In the example cited in the first article it specifically implies that the parking structure is shared, therefore the employer has no right to perform this search. In fact I believe it is restricted to only the actual owner of the property having that right, as the law is at present.
I could be wrong, but that doesn't necessarily mean I am wrong in my thinking.
 

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I agree with Cinhil... the oft-cited phrase that the Constitution ONLY limits government doesn't seem to be entirely true... after all, the Constitution protects my right to LIFE and LIBERTY (and, as we are discussing, PROPERTY)... but on private property one is not entitled to KILL me or ENSLAVE me.

So, if the Constitution protects my right to LIFE and LIBERTY against threats from another individual on private property... it would follow that there in fact IS ROOM for the protection of my PROPERTY in that same scenario. It would seem to me that if it is PROPERTY which I can carry on my person or on my other property which the private property owner allows on their property then what I choose to carry on my person or other allowed property is of no business to them and should be fully protected unless I am using that property illegally.
 

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I don't think the real problem in the law has to do with either property owners rights or gun rights. The deal is that you can be fired for anything (or nothing) in the state of Utah. If they find out you are violating even the most stupid company policy they can fire you. And if you sue all they have to say is that they decided that it was corporate best interest to terminate your employment no reason required.
 

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marksman said:
I don't think the real problem in the law has to do with either property owners rights or gun rights. The deal is that you can be fired for anything (or nothing) in the state of Utah. If they find out you are violating even the most stupid company policy they can fire you. And if you sue all they have to say is that they decided that it was corporate best interest to terminate your employment no reason required.
I think you mean that they can "terminate" you for anything (or nothing). They can't actually "fire" you at will. The difference, as I understand it, is that "terminating" you at will prevents them from being able to tell a future employer that you were "fired" and allows you to still claim unemployment from them while looking for a new job.

That being said, I think you are correct in stating that they can "fire" you if you are caught violating a company policy. And there-in lies the problem. To allow a company to "fire" you simply for violating a company policy runs contradictory to safe-employment requirements and non-prejudicial hiring requirements. After all if, in effect, company policy is made to be "THE law" on the work site premises then the question is how is it that the company is forced to not treat their employees with prejudice and how is that the company is forced to provide a certain level of safety for their employees??? I believe the answer lies in the fact that the law recognizes the supremacy of our basic rights to Life and Liberty. You can't be "fired" for being white or black or for demanding a reasonably healthy working environment, regardless of company policy. You shouldn't have to worry about being "fired" for what you are legally allowed to carry in your car, either.
 

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All that means is that the employer needs to be careful not to tell you that you're being fired for being white, black, female, etc... and just tell you that you're being fired because its in the companies best interest... whatever the real reason might be. When it comes down to the legality anyway... I think... I'm not sure... Your State may vary.
 

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I guess I was just saying that what they can legally force you to do because of property rights and gun rights etc is irrelevant. the OP asked if they could search your car even if it's not on their property. The answer is it doesn't matter because under current Utah law they can "Terminate" you for not letting them search your car. And this problem stems from the way employment law in Utah (and frankly most states) is setup not from the way property or gun law in Utah is setup.
 

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Also company policy doesn't become the law on the job site. The company can't put you in jail or make you a felon. They can't violate the law if there is law that says you can't search someone private property without consent they aren't allowed to search your property without consent. but they can "terminate" you for not consenting. If there is a law that says you can't "terminate" someone for being of a particular race, sex, or age they then you can't because it's against the law. But as long as the reason for termination isn't expressly forbidden in the law such as requiring periodic drug tests or submitting personal property to search then they can "terminate" you for it.
 

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marksman said:
I guess I was just saying that what they can legally force you to do because of property rights and gun rights etc is irrelevant. the OP asked if they could search your car even if it's not on their property. The answer is it doesn't matter because under current Utah law they can "Terminate" you for not letting them search your car. And this problem stems from the way employment law in Utah (and frankly most states) is setup not from the way property or gun law in Utah is setup.
Good clarification, thanks!

I'm not sure it holds, though. The reason I say that is I would pose the "?": can they terminate you if you deny to being physically searched??? I would highly doubt that such would hold up in court unless the company could prove a reasonable need... maybe a highly-secure facility or something. But a standard office job... I really doubt could get away with terminating you for refusing to a personal search.

Additionally, if I'm not mistaken, there are federal laws on the books stating that you have a reasonable expectation to privacy of your contents stowed in a bag or desk drawer. I believe the main intent of those laws when passed was to protect people's right to have religious materials at work without being discriminated against and "terminated" for having them.

If you can't be terminated for refusing to comply to a personnel search and you can't be terminated for having religious materials on your person or in property under your control, I think it doesn't hold that you can be terminated for stowing a legal firearm in your car...

To be clear... I am not saying that a company won't try it (they already have) and I'm not saying a court won't uphold (they already have)... I'm just saying that the current situation is not inline with other similar laws and rulings... in other words, gun owners are being prejudiced.

After reading you final post I think I see where you are going. I guess I have to agree that, in practice, what you are saying holds. Of course, I still think it amounts to nothing more than prejudicial practice of the law. But your point is accurate, though I think morally and ethically flawed (as I think you would agree as well, though I'm not sure).

I think part of the confusion we are having in this discussion is related to the difference between being "fired" vs. "terminated" and the difference between something being currently allowed and something being applied in a uniformly ethical way.

I still wonder if a company could actually get away with something like terminating you for refusing to a personnel search. Are you aware of any references to this??? I have a hard time believing that a judge would find in favor of such an employer considering how invasive that is.
 

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bane said:
After reading you final post I think I see where you are going. I guess I have to agree that, in practice, what you are saying holds. Of course, I still think it amounts to nothing more than prejudicial practice of the law. But your point is accurate, though I think morally and ethically flawed (as I think you would agree as well, though I'm not sure).
I don't want to be coming across as condoning companies banning firearms (as firearm bans don't work), And I am in favor of legislation such as sb 67. I'm simply saying that under the current law companies are allowed to terminate you for violating any of the company policies as mentioned by the OP. For now in my opinion the best course of action is to follow company policy or find a new job where you are more comfortable with the company policy. And in the meanwhile urge your representatives to pursue legislation to correct the inadequacies in the law.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi All - thanks for all of your comments. I'm glad my question got people talking.

Unfortunately for me I've had to sit through all the extremely interesting (read boring) termination, discrimination, team building, meetings because I'm in management.

I completely understand that bringing a gun into work would be in violation of the company policy which would make it completely acceptable for them to terminate my employment on the spot.

I suppose I have just two questions:

1) Can an employer search a car that is not on their property? If, as marksman wrote, failure to comply with a search is grounds for termination whether they own the property or not, then it wouldn't matter where the car is parked. In that sense, even if I parked the car in the parking lot next door or 1/2 mile away at Albertson's I could still be terminated if the car contained a firearm. As a sidenote - this is a little scary because an employer technically could terminate an employee for having a gun at home by this logic. In my utterly boring training I learned that companies are terminating employees for failure to stop smoking (even at home) because it costs them money in healthcare premiums. It's true and very scary.

2) However, because the policy clearly states that firearms are prohibited from company property, that I would not be in violation of company policy. I would just be doing something HR didn't like.

While they could still terminate me, they better have a good reason if I'm not in violation of company policy, because thanks to the lovely training they've given me as a manager, I know that unless they can document specific problems with my performance or adherence to policy, that they're putting themselves in a precarious position. While I may nor may not win a trip to court, the lawyer they had teaching our classes stressed that it's important to document everything to avoid the chance that a claim of unlawful termination isn't won (fat, ugly, old, female, pregnant, etc). If they can't prove I violated company policy, well, they must be terminating me for another reason. Perhaps it's discrimination of some sort. I would never do that because I'm not the world's slime, but some people would and that's how our company thinks about terminating employees. The company I work for isn't stupid enough to terminate anyone unless the can document it up the wazoo.

So, is keeping a gun in my car in a parking lot that is not owned by the company (down the street, etc) actually a violation of policy and can they search the car?

Nobody needs to answer - I think I just answered it myself. :)
 

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meandmyguns said:
...
So, is keeping a gun in my car in a parking lot that is not owned by the company (down the street, etc) actually a violation of policy and can they search the car?
...
HR: Mr. Jones, we need to search your car to verify that you are complying with company policies.

Mr. Jones: Car? What car?
 

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Jeff said, "HR: Mr. Jones, we need to search your car to verify that you are complying with company policies.

Mr. Jones: Car? What car?"

+1 :ROFL: :shades: :lol3:
 

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If company policy forbids guns on "company property," and the parking lot is not "company property," sounds to me like you're golden. I guess the devil is in the details, i.e. is a leased parking lot "company property" or not?

My other point is, you say you're in management. I don't know what company you work for or anything but maybe you might be in a position to propose changes to asinine rules such as these.
 
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