An Oklahoma federal district court has issued an injunction preventing Oklahoma from enforcing its statute that made it illegal for employers to prevent workers from keeping firearms in their locked vehicles on company property. (ConocoPhillips Co. v. Henry N.D. Okla., No. 04-CV-820-TCK-SAJ, 10/4/07). The basis for the court's decision was the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act ("OSHA"). The court concluded that OSHA pre-empted the Oklahoma law because OSHA requires employers to protect workers from "recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm" (the so-called "general duty clause"). Using information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the court concluded that the presence of firearms on company property is a workplace hazard.
Having first reported on guns in the workplace in our November 7, 2005 Update, Steve Proctor notes that because other states have similar laws, it will be interesting to see whether the courts in those states consider and apply the reasoning of this Oklahoma district court.