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
California: DOJ Issues “Notice of Modification” to Proposed Ammunition Background Check Regulations

Thursday, April 18, 2019

California: DOJ Issues “Notice of Modification” to Proposed Ammunition Background Check Regulations

Today, the California Department of Justice issued a “Notice of Modification” to their proposed regulations regarding the soon to be implemented ammunition background check procedures. As a result of these changes, a second 15-day public ...

Heeee’s Baaack: Bill Clinton Peddles Gun Control on a Wish and a Lie

News  

Friday, April 19, 2019

Heeee’s Baaack: Bill Clinton Peddles Gun Control on a Wish and a Lie

Proving there is no statute of limitations on political opportunism, this week former President Bill Clinton used the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the tragic school shooting in Littleton, Colo. to pen an op-ed pushing ...

Maine: Firearm Seizure Bill Heads To Judiciary Committee

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Maine: Firearm Seizure Bill Heads To Judiciary Committee

On April 22nd, the Maine Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Legislative Document 1312, which would allow for firearms to be seized and Second Amendment rights to be suspended without due process. 

New York Times Admits Privately-Funded “Gun Violence” Research is a Thing

News  

Friday, April 19, 2019

New York Times Admits Privately-Funded “Gun Violence” Research is a Thing

The New York Times – the “paper of record” – reports that “Gun Research is Suddenly Hot.” While we’re happy to see the Times has finally acknowledged that “gun research” can survive federal restrictions on taxpayer funded gun control ...

Media Continues to Cause Distorted Fear of School Violence

News  

Friday, April 19, 2019

Media Continues to Cause Distorted Fear of School Violence

When it comes to the wellbeing of today’s youth, one would think that all could agree that provoking unnecessary fear should be avoided. That apparently is not the case, however, when it comes to pushing ...

California: Legislature Returns from Spring Break

Sunday, April 21, 2019

California: Legislature Returns from Spring Break

The California Legislature returns from spring recess this week and seven different committees are considering bills that could impact your rights. 

Indiana: Important Self-Defense Bill Passes Legislature, On to Governor

Monday, April 22, 2019

Indiana: Important Self-Defense Bill Passes Legislature, On to Governor

On April 22nd, both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly voted to concur with the amendments made to House Bill 1284 during the conference committee process.  HB 1284 has been amended to now include many ...

Pittsburgh Residents Seek Preliminary Injunction Against Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines

News  

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pittsburgh Residents Seek Preliminary Injunction Against Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines

With support from the NRA, gun owners challenging Pittsburgh’s ban on publicly carrying loaded magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds filed a motion today seeking a preliminary injunction. If the motion is granted, ...

Texas: House Passes Evacuation Carry Bill

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Texas: House Passes Evacuation Carry Bill

On Thursday, the Texas House gave final approval to House Bill 1177 by a vote of 102-29.

NRA Statement on New York City's Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

NRA Statement on New York City's Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

NRA reacts to New York City's attempt to avoid having the NRA-supported Supreme Court case N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association, et al. v. City of N.Y., et al heard in DC. 

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.