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Indiana Allows Employees to Keep Guns in Cars on Employers’ Parking Lot

With all the recent national news coverage of fatal incidents of workplace violence, what does the Indiana legislature do? It passes a law prohibiting employers from telling employees to keep their guns at home. Employees in Indiana now have the right to keep guns in their locked vehicles parked on their employer’s parking lot.

The conflict here is clear.  As one of the bill’s authors put it, “A waitress working at 2 a.m. needs to be able to protect [herself]; if an employer can ban [her] from having it in her car, it is banning her from protecting herself to and from work.” However, with guns allowed in the workplace, a different potential for disaster exists:  A workplace dispute starts inside and spills over to the parking lot, where loaded guns await a disgruntled employee.  And if trouble does explode, the employer is the first deep pocket to be liable.  

Regardless of where you stand on this topic, if you have operations in Indiana, your workplace violence policy must not prohibit guns in locked vehicles.  However, prudence suggests you and every employer need a strong conflict resolution program.  For example, do you have an effective open door policy that encourages employees to take their issues directly to management? People often resort to violence when they feel it’s the only way they’ll be heard. Lastly, supervisors should be trained to recognize warning signs that may precede a violent attack. These are prudent steps for employers everywhere, but they are now absolutely vital for employers in Indiana where workplace parking lots may now be explosive.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying and remaining up to date with state and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.