Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Illinois “Parking Lot Law” Shields Employee from Termination

Friday, October 19, 2018

Illinois “Parking Lot Law” Shields Employee from Termination

A federal appeals court recently upheld a labor arbitrator’s decision concluding that, in light of the state’s concealed carry law, an employer had improperly fired an employee for violating the company’s weapons policy.

The case, Ameren Illinois Co. v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, concerned the scope of an arbitrator’s authority to interpret a collective bargaining agreement by reference to state law on firearms and private property.

Brian Knox, the employee in the case, and his supervisor had a series of “heated arguments” over scheduling one day. Other employees later told the supervisor that Knox owned firearms and was known to carry concealed weapons (Knox had a concealed carry license). The employer, Ameren, had a “Workplace Violence Policy” that prohibited “threatening, intimidating and aggressive” statements or conduct and “unauthorized weapons” on company property, “including in vehicles located on Company parking lots.” A company representative (accompanied by a deputy sheriff) subsequently asked Knox to consent to a search. Knox agreed, and a firearm was found stored in his truck parked in the company lot. Three weeks later, Knox – who had been with Ameren upwards of 15 years – was fired. The termination letter cited violations of the policy based on his allegedly “threatening or intimidating” conduct during the arguments and his “unauthorized” gun on company property.

The union representing Knox filed a grievance, claiming the collective bargaining agreement between the union and Ameren allowed termination of a bargaining unit employee for just cause only. It was undisputed that the penalty for violations of the workplace violence policy included discipline up to and including termination, but the policy had been unilaterally imposed by the employer. It was not part of the agreement, and nothing in the collective bargaining agreement prohibited leaving a lawful firearm in an employee’s personal vehicle or defined such conduct as constituting just cause. The grievance was submitted to binding arbitration.

The arbitrator ruled that Knox had been discharged without cause. The employer had failed to show that Knox had violated the workplace violence policy by making “threatening, intimidating and aggressive” statements. Although Knox had violated Ameren’s policy by keeping an unauthorized gun at the parking lot, the employer’s policy was unenforceable in the circumstances based on the language of the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Because Knox had a valid concealed carry license, the state law expressly permitted him to store a firearm in his vehicle while it was in the employer’s parking lot. According to the arbitrator, this law barred the employer from relying on Knox’s policy violation as the reason for termination. The arbitrator directed Ameren to withdraw its letter of termination and offer Knox his job back.

Unhappy with this result, Ameren obtained a court order vacating the arbitrator’s award on the ground that the arbitrator improperly based his award on a law – the concealed carry statute – that was outside the collective bargaining agreement.

On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed and upheld the award, finding the arbitrator had not exceeded the scope of his authority and had appropriately restricted himself to what was in the agreement.

It did so by focusing on a provision in the agreement that both the arbitrator and the court below had overlooked, which read: “Any provisions of this Agreement found by either party to be in conflict with State or Federal statutes shall be suspended when such conflict occurs and shall immediately thereafter be reopened for amendment to remove such conflict.” This reference to the effect of state and federal laws, the Seventh Circuit said, “firmly establishes the intent of the parties to bring external law such as the Concealed Carry Act within the scope of the bargain.”

Although the court in this case indicated it would not otherwise address the state’s Concealed Carry Act or internal corporate policies regarding weapons, generally private employers – like any other property owner – may regulate weapons on their premises and property subject to state law. 

Your NRA was actively involved in the advocating for the 2013 Illinois law that was a critical factor in this court ruling. Many states now have similar “parking lot” or “guns-at-work” laws that protect an individual’s right to keep a legally-possessed firearm in a locked personal vehicle while parked at the employer’s lot or garage. Because these laws vary considerably in what is allowed, who is covered, and what is required to comply, it is important to know the law in your jurisdiction before taking your gun to work.

 

 

TRENDING NOW
Bloomberg Dismisses Texas Hero, Insists It Wasn’t His “Job” to Have a Gun or Decide to Shoot

News  

Monday, January 6, 2020

Bloomberg Dismisses Texas Hero, Insists It Wasn’t His “Job” to Have a Gun or Decide to Shoot

Jack Wilson – a 71-year-old congregant of the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Tex. – is a hero to most Americans. When a deranged man savagely murdered two of Mr. Wilson’s fellow ...

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Alert! Florida REPUBLICAN Senators Vote for Massive Gun Control Bill

On Monday, 1/13/20, it happened again.  Senate President Bill Galvano picked a fight with Floridians who believe in the constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It is well known -- even by the media ...

Virginia: Bill Filed to Eliminate Right-to-Carry Permit Reciprocity!

News  

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Virginia: Bill Filed to Eliminate Right-to-Carry Permit Reciprocity!

In an unhinged effort to attack Virginians’ Second Amendment rights, one member of the Michael Bloomberg-bought General Assembly is willing to undermine a bipartisan policy advanced by the previous Democratic governor and target one of the state’s ...

Grassroots Ramp Up Continues in the Old Dominion

News  

Friday, January 10, 2020

Grassroots Ramp Up Continues in the Old Dominion

Virginia’s General Assembly officially kicked off on January 8th, and the newly-controlled anti-gun legislative body is wasting no time in pushing its crusade against our gun rights.  Facing a barrage of bills anathema to our ...

Washington: “Gun-Free Zone” Bill on Senate Floor

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Washington: “Gun-Free Zone” Bill on Senate Floor

On January 13th, the Washington Senate pulled Senate Bill 5434 from the Senate Rules Committee back to the floor, where it can receive a vote at any time. SB 5434 was retained as a carry-over ...

Breaking! Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

News  

Friday, March 29, 2019

Breaking! Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

In one of the strongest judicial statements in favor of the Second Amendment to date, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California determined on Friday that California’s ...

Virginia: Senate Judiciary Committee* Passes Anti-Gun Bills

Monday, January 13, 2020

Virginia: Senate Judiciary Committee* Passes Anti-Gun Bills

The Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee met today and wasted no time in passing gun control bills as their first order of business.

Virginia: Senate Voting On Anti-Gun Bills Today!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Virginia: Senate Voting On Anti-Gun Bills Today!

The anti-gun majority continues to fast track their agenda. On January 16th, the full Virginia Senate will be holding floor votes on the gun control bills that only left committee on Monday.

Virginia: General Assembly Passes Capitol Gun Ban

Friday, January 10, 2020

Virginia: General Assembly Passes Capitol Gun Ban

Days before law-abiding citizens are set to go to Richmond to urge lawmakers to defend their rights, the new anti-gun majority of the Virginia General Assembly has passed an immediate gun ban for the Pocahontas Building and the ...

Washington: Additional Hearing Scheduled on Gun Ban Bills

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Washington: Additional Hearing Scheduled on Gun Ban Bills

On Tuesday, January 21st, at 10AM, the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee will consider several anti-gun bills that would severely restrict the Constitutional Rights of law-abiding Washingtonian citizens. This hearing comes just one day ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.