Texas employees are now allowed to bring guns onto company parking lots, parking garages and parking areas as long as the employee has a valid concealed handgun license and the car is locked. The law allows employers to forbid employees from possessing guns or firearms in company buildings, but seems to allow for the possession of guns on sidewalks, streets and driveways.
Other highlights of the law include the following:
- Employers may forbid employees with concealed handgun licenses from possessing or storing guns or firearms in company owned vehicles if the vehicle is used by the employee in the course and scope of employment.
- Employers do not have a duty to inspect or secure parking lots or parking areas for purposes of this new law.
- Civil liability is limited to gross negligence for incidents or injuries arising out of an occurrence involving a firearm legitimately on company property as a result of the requirements of the statute.
- The presence of firearms legally possessed by employees in compliance with the law does not "by itself" constitute a failure by the employer to provide a safe workplace.
Employers should take immediate action to ensure compliance and protect employees.
- Review policies prohibiting the possession of firearms on company premises because these usually forbid the possession of firearms in company parking areas.
- Revise policies to prohibit guns and firearms in all company vehicles regardless of whether the person possesses a concealed handgun license.
- Warn other employees, contractors and vendors that guns and firearms may now be in parking areas.
- Train safety coordinators and managers ON the requirements of the new law.
- Draft weapons policies to demand strict compliance with concealed handgun laws and inform employees that the possession of a firearm in company parking lots in violation of the law will result in termination.
- Provide employees with an option to anonymously report incidents of possession of firearms or weapons.
Although Texas employers cannot forbid employees from legally possessing a gun in company parking areas, employers may still demand strict adherence to safety requirements and the requirements of the law.
If you have questions regarding how the new Texas firearm provision applies to your business, the Gardere Labor and Employment team has answers. Gardere's Governmental Affairs team represents clients on matters being considered by the Texas Legislature and state agencies. If you have questions about this or other recently passed legislation contact Arthur Val Perkins (firstname.lastname@example.org or 512.542.5008), Mark Vane (email@example.com or 512.542.707 or Kimberly A. Yelkin (firstname.lastname@example.org or 512.542.7001).