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Indiana Workplace Gun Law Amended to Further Restrict Employers' Policies

  • May 9, 2011

A year after employers in Indiana revised their policies to conform to the state’s “bring your gun to work law,” they again must conform their policies to the law’s amendments that will become effective July 1, 2011, further limiting some employers’ attempts to safeguard their workplaces.

Law of 2010

Under the 2010 statute, an employer in Indiana may not maintain a policy prohibiting possession of a firearm in an employee’s vehicle at the workplace.  An employee who legally possesses a firearm is permitted to keep the firearm in his or her vehicle at work, as long as it is locked in the trunk, kept in the glove compartment of the locked vehicle, or otherwise stored out of plain sight in the locked vehicle.  Certain employers, including schools, day care centers, domestic violence shelters, were provided limited exceptions under the statute.  The law only permits keeping the weapon in the employee’s vehicle and does not affect an employer’s policies prohibiting possession of firearms inside the workplace.

Struggling to protect their workplace from gun violence while staying within the law, some Indiana employers revised their policies in response to the 2010 enactment.  This year’s amendments to the statute are targeted at those revised employer policies.

Amendments

The amendments to the law prohibit employers from:

i. requiring an applicant or employee to disclose whether he or she owns, possesses, uses or transports a firearm (unless the firearm is used in fulfilling the duties of employment); or

ii. conditioning employment, or any rights, benefits, privileges, or opportunities of employment, upon any agreement that the applicant or employee forego their rights under the workplace gun law or any other rights related to lawful possession of a firearm. 

The amendments allow an aggrieved individual to bring a civil action seeking injunctive relief, actual damages, attorney’s fees, and, in the case of a knowing and willful violation, punitive damages.

Indiana employers should review their current policies to ensure compliance with both the original 2010 statute and the 2011 amendments.  Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist employers with this and other workplace requirements.

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