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Florida's "Bring Your Gun to Work" Law: Weapons at Work

Florida’s Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008, FLA. STAT. § 790.251 (2017), is often referred to as the "Bring Your Gun to Work Law" or the "Parking Lot Law."

Generally, under this law, no employer may prohibit an employee from possessing a legally owned firearm when such firearm is lawfully possessed and secured inside a private motor vehicle in an employer’s parking lot or garage when the employee is lawfully on the premises.

Because of this law, employers are facing a delicate balancing act between honoring their employees' rights under the Bring Your Gun to Work Law, while at the same time maintaining a safe workplace for its other employees, customers and other invited guests.

While the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (“OSHA”) does not have specific standards addressing workplace violence, OSHA’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), requires employers to provide their employees with a place of employment that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious harm." Courts have interpreted OSHA's general duty clause to require an employer to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities that either the employer or industry recognizes as hazardous and that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when there is a feasible method to abate the hazard.

An employer whose workplace has endured acts of violence, or becomes aware of threats, intimidation, or other indicators showing that the potential for violence in the workplace exists, may be on notice of the risk of workplace violence and should implement a workplace violence prevention program combined with engineering controls, administrative controls, and training.

Eliminating and significantly reducing the possibility of workplace violence requires employers to have a solid grasp of their rights and obligations to: (1) insulate against a myriad of liability issues; (2) develop and adopt appropriate safety and behavioral standards to prevent and identify red flags before workplace violence has a chance to occur; and (3) effectively adopt protocols for employee safety to ensure morale and productivity remain at peak levels.

For more information on Florida's Bring Your Gun to Work Law and how it may impact your workplace, please call our office at 561.810.1600 and ask for Phil Ward, Esq. or Jon Stage, Esq.

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