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Tennessee “Gun-in-Trunks” To Take Effect July 1, 2013


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The effect of this legislation will be that employees will not suffer criminal penalties when bringing guns to work, provided they leave them in their parked vehicle.  The new law generally immunizes employers from liability for actions taken at work with the weapons and from liability if weapons are stolen from a car parked in their parking area.

Left open is the question of whether an employer may fire an employee who leaves a gun in their locked car in the employer’s parking lot.  A letter of legislative intent states the new law does not change Tennessee’s employment-at-will doctrine, but does allow employees to sue for wrongful discharge if they are fired solely for carrying a gun.

Most employers exercise their right to search employees’ parked vehicles only when they have a basis for search and not on a random basis.  The courts will eventually have to resolve the clash between employers’ property rights and employees’ rights under Tennessee law.

 

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