International Door & Operator Industry

MAY-JUN 2018

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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Page 13 of 110

V O L U M E 5 1 I S S U E 3 J U N E 2 0 1 8 11 As I write this, the nation is having a renewed debate regarding the role of handguns and other firearms in our society. News about school shootings have sparked fear and anger, and a series of marches to raise awareness about gun policy have broken out across the country. Interestingly, with the exception of school campuses, one element of the issue that is not getting a lot of attention currently is the question of guns in the workplace. This issue is particularly compelling for door dealers, because of unique issues faced by employees who work both at the home office and out in the field. Issue: Threats to Techs If there is one fear that is nearly universal for IDA members, it is probably the worry about something bad happening to their technicians in the field. Those employees are driving expensive company trucks loaded with equipment and inventory, and they are traveling either alone or in pairs to areas far from headquarters. There is very little that an employer can do to completely eliminate the risk of a violent incident against a technician, which may lead dealers to consider allowing their employees to carry firearms in the field. This inclination is not entirely unreasonable. Following the latest spate of high profile shootings over the past several months, both public and private employers have Continued on page 12 LEGAL&LEGISLATION By Brian J. Schoolman, Safran Law Offices considered expanding the number of employees permitted to carry firearms in the field. In Florida, at least two counties in the last year have either passed or considered policies to allow field employees with concealed-weapon permits to also carry firearms in the field, even for employees who may not be considered law enforcement officers. Last year, after a shooting of a building inspector during an apparent carjacking, the city of Milwaukee, WI, considered but rejected allowing city employees to open-carry weapons in the field. The data are mixed as to whether allowing an employee to carry a firearm makes that employee safer, or is more likely to prevent or limit violent incidents. What is clear, however, is that if a technician is permitted by his employer to carry a weapon, the employer is knowingly taking on certain liability risks relating to that gun. If the technician has an incident with a customer, or a bystander, the dealer could face a greater exposure to damages than if the employee was prohibited from carrying a weapon. On the other hand, there is very little case law regarding any greater exposure to employer liability for prohibiting firearms in the field. Either way an IDA member may choose to go, that member should definitely check the applicable state and local laws, and also get an opinion from his or her insurance broker regarding potential coverage issues. Issue: Guns in the Office Under both federal and state laws, employers have the right to bar weapons from the workplace. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution applies only to governmental action, and therefore has no impact upon a private business owner. Door dealers may choose either Guns & Techs Guns & Techs

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