New Tennessee law allows workers to sue if fired for having guns in cars

Tennessee employees have a new option for suing their employer now that Governor Bill Haslam has signed a bill enabling workers to sue if they are fired for storing guns in cars parked in their employer’s parking lot.

A 2013 law gave employees with handgun carry permits the right to store firearms and/or ammunition in vehicles in company parking lots even if the employer objects. The law passed despite opposition from the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and employers wanting to enforce no-weapons policies in their workplaces.

After the law passed but before it went into effect on July 1, 2013, state Attorney General Robert Cooper released an opinion indicating that employers could still enforce no-weapons policies. Cooper’s opinion said that while the law removed criminal penalties for carrying a gun on an employer’s property without permission, it didn’t change Tennessee’s at-will-employment status.

The new law, which the governor signed on April 6, means employees can sue their employer if the employer discharges or takes adverse action against them for transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition in the employer’s parking lot.