Learning & Development

Guns in the Workplace Policies

Yesterday’s Advisor offered tips from attorney Allan H. Weitzman on cutting-edge policies candidates may inquire about—policies like tech, cell phones, and drugs. Today, Weitzman’s guidelines for gun policies and equal employment opportunity (EEO).

Weitzman, a partner with Proskauer Rose LLP, offered his tips at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Annual Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas.

Guns in the Workplace

Weitzman points to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act:
“Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

State and Local Gun Laws

Before implementing a ban on weapons, check state and local laws, says Weitzman. Many states have enacted laws that prohibit employers from enforcing any workplace policy that would prevent their employees from storing guns in their cars on a company lot.

Weapons Policy

If an employer decides to ban weapons in the workplace, the policy should:

  • Define terms such as “weapon,” “firearm,” and “possess.”
  • Clearly state the policy’s purpose.
  • State that despite state and local law provisions that allow the carrying of concealed weapons, the employer has elected to prohibit weapons on its property.
  • Clarify whether the policy applies only to employees or to all persons entering the employer’s premises.
  • Explain which areas are covered.

The policy should also contain:

  • A description of the employer’s policy on workplace searches, and
  • A statement that employees have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their personal work areas.

You should obtain a signed, written acknowledgment of the policy from employees.

EEO Policy Statement

EEO has been, and will continue to be, a fundamental principle at XYZ, where employment is based on personal capabilities and qualifications without discrimination due to race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, age, national origin, disability, genetic information, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

This policy of EEO applies to all policies and procedures relating to recruitment and hiring, compensation, benefits, termination, and all other terms and conditions of employment.

Employees’ questions or concerns should be referred to the human resources department, which has overall responsibility for this policy and maintains reporting and monitoring procedures.

Appropriate disciplinary action may be taken against any employee willfully violating this policy.

Elements of an Antiharassment Policy

  • Include all protected characteristics (check local and state laws).
  • Specifically state the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s definitions.
  • Define other forms of harassment.
  • Give examples of harassing behaviors.
  • Define supervisory responsibility.
  • Outline penalties for engaging in harassment.
  • Set forth a clear internal complaint procedure with multiple intake points.
  • State the employer’s investigation obligations.
  • Provide only a limited confidentiality assurance.
  • Include an antiretaliation provision.

Ultimately, HR policies like guns in the workplace are just part of a complex set of strategies. You have probably become skilled at getting the most out of popular sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, but you run the risk only looking where everybody else is looking. Learn how to find the best talent in the hidden corners of the internet in the form of BLR’s new webinar—Cutting-Edge Recruiting Tactics: How to Stretch Your Candidate-Sourcing Skills Beyond LinkedIn and Facebook. In just 60 minutes, on Wednesday, February 17, you’ll learn everything you need to know about cutting-edge recruiting tactics.

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Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace

There are important benefits of drug-free workplace policies, says Weitzman, including:

  • Decreased absenteeism, turnover, downtime, accidents, and thefts, and
  • Increased productivity and overall employee morale.

A drug- and alcohol-testing policy should be part of your company’s drug-free workplace policy, Weitzman says, and you should include a detailed description of the drug-testing procedures.

Generally, employers may test applicants and employees in the following circumstances (subject to state and local laws), Weitzman says.

  • During a yearly physical;
  • Prior to transfers or promotions;
  • Prior to being placed in positions involving security, safety, or money;
  • After an accident;
  • Where the employee used drugs in the past;
  • After treatment;
  • Based on reasonable suspicion; and
  • On a random basis.

State and Local Legal Requirements

Don’t forget that there may be state and local legal requirements that should be incorporated into your handbook and communicated to employees. Weitzman recommends looking for these topics in particular:

  • Workplace smoking policies
  • E-cigarettes
  • Voting policies
  • Jury duty policies
  • Blood, bone marrow, and/or organ donation leave
  • Protected off-duty legal activity
  • Domestic violence leave
  • Breastfeeding accommodations

In tomorrow’s Advisor, more from Weitzman, including policy tips for guns in the workplace. Plus, an introduction to an interactive webinar, Cutting-Edge Recruiting Tactics: How to Stretch Your Candidate-Sourcing Skills Beyond LinkedIn and Facebook.