October 24th, 2018
William S. Rutchow at Ogletree Deakins
This blog was written by William S. Rutchow at Ogletree Deakins, author of our Model Policies and Forms for Tennessee Employers. Ogletree also authors our Massachusetts Human Resources Manual, Colorado Human Resources Manual, and Employee Benefits – An Employer's Guide. You can find the original blog post and their Workplace Safety and Health Insights on their website.
Tennessee Gives Employers Option to Allow Limited Carrying of Concealed Firearms at Work
William S. Rutchow (Nashville)
Tennessee property owners, including employers, are generally authorized to prohibit the possession of weapons by any person at meetings conducted by an employer or on property owned, operated, managed, or under the control of an employer. Tennessee has adopted very specific requirements for how employers and other property owners must notify employees and visitors when they seek to prohibit firearms on their properties.
Notices of such a prohibition must be posted in prominent locations, including at all entrances primarily used by persons entering buildings where weapon possession is prohibited. If the possession of weapons is also prohibited on the premises of the property as well as within the confines of a building located on the property, the notice should be posted at all entrances to the premises that are primarily used by persons entering the property. When an employer’s property has been properly “posted,” possession of a firearm is a crime.
Under the law, the sign prohibiting weapons must contain all of the following:
Tennessee has now adopted an alternative to a complete ban on firearms in the workplace. On April 24, 2018, Governor Bill Haslam signed Public Chapter No. 823. Under this amendment to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1359, employers may now allow individuals authorized to carry handguns under Tennessee law (i.e., those with concealed carry permits) to carry handguns in a concealed manner on employer premises. An employer choosing to allow such concealed carry is still authorized to prohibit anyone else from having a firearm on the employer’s premises. If an employer chooses to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry handguns, the notice requirements are slightly different. The notices that the employer posts pursuant to this option must contain the following:
Again, Tennessee law still generally allows employers to prohibit employees and others from having firearms on employer premises. Previously, the only exception to this rule was that an employer could not prohibit a permit holder from keeping a firearm locked out of sight in his or her personal vehicle parked on the employer’s premises. Now employers, at their option, can allow permit holders to conceal and carry handguns anywhere on employer premises.
This article was drafted by the attorneys of Ogletree Deakins, a labor and employment law firm representing management, and is reprinted with permission. This information should not be relied upon as legal advice.