On July 1, 2010, an Indiana law became effective that allows employees to bring firearms onto an employer's property provided the firearms are kept out of sight in a locked vehicle. The law prohibits employers from adopting a policy that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting an employee from bringing a weapon or ammunition onto an employer's property if it is:
- Locked in the trunk of an employee's vehicle;
- Kept in the glove compartment of the employee's locked vehicle; or
- Stored out of plain sight in the employee's locked vehicle.
The law exempted certain employers, including schools; child care institutions, including emergency shelters, private secure facilities, group homes and child care centers; penal facilities; postsecondary educational institutions; domestic violence shelters; individual residences; certain public utilities; and a handful of other highly specific entities.
To regulate employees' possession of firearms and still comply with the law, many employers revised their firearms policies to require employees to disclose their possession or transportation of firearms and ammunition. Some employers required employees to sign disclosure forms, while other employers required employees transporting firearms and ammunition to park in designated parking lots.
The legislature recently responded to these policies, enacting a law that makes many of them unlawful. On July 1, 2011 (the first anniversary), another gun law will become effective. The new law prohibits employers from:
- Requiring employees (or applicants) to divulge any information about their use, possession or transportation of guns and ammunition or
- Conditioning employment on an employee's relinquishing his rights related to gun ownership.
Most importantly, the law imposes punitive damages on employers who knowingly and willfully violate it.
If your current firearms policy requires employees carrying firearms in their vehicles to sign and submit disclosure statements or otherwise requires employees to divulge any information about their use, possession or transportation of guns or ammunition, you must revise your policy before July 1, 2011, to avoid potential liability under the new law!
Please remember that state laws regarding an employee's possession of firearms on employer's property are passed or changed frequently. Although other states' laws may have changed, this notice addresses only Indiana's.