Skip to comments.America Online Can Fire Gun-Owning Employees
Posted on 07/23/2004 6:56:58 PM PDT by TYVets
America Online Can Fire Gun-Owning Employees Utah High Court Rules Friday, July 23, 2004
Self-defense took a big blow this week when the Utah Supreme Court upheld the right of America Online (AOL), America`s largest on-line service provider, to fire three employees whose firearms were stored in the trunks of their cars in the parking lot of an AOL call center in Ogden, Utah.
In a decision that diminishes rights guaranteed under both the Utah and the U.S. Constitution, the court acknowledged the individual right to keep and bear arms, but said the right of a business to regulate its own property is more important!
Complying with this decision could potentially cost an employee his or her life--violent criminals certainly aren`t going to obey such a ban.
It may also diminish employees` abilities to hunt or target shoot after work.
The issue is becoming a hot legislative topic in the states. This year Oklahoma passed HB 2122 ensuring that employees with guns in their cars were not fired or harassed, and it was debated in several other states.
Please look to future editions of the Grassroots Alert for developing information on this issue.
I guess I've never understood the appeal of AOL. I actually, back in 1994 or 1995 started with compuserve for a year or so, then I went to a local dial-up before moving onto high-speed cable.
Those of you who have used AOL, tell me why, please?
Yes they would.
If the owners are flaunting their weapons or whatever or in some way causing attention to the weapons or to themselves being armed, I would tend to agree with you. As it is, if they are out of sight in a trunk or concealed space, I think the employee has some privacy expectation. After all, a company can not set up peep cameras in rest rooms, even though they clearly own or control that area.
I think that a company should make such policies as this known up front and make it a contractual matter: an employee, when hired, signs something that says on the condition of his or her employment agrees not to carry weapons of any kind in his vehicle when the vehicle is to be parked on site. At that point, everything is up front and the employee can (and should) tell the employer to screw off and go work somewhere else.
Apples and oranges.
There is a huge difference in an individual citizen preventing someone from entering their property; and a corporation that fires employees for private property contained in their private vehicle.
Guess that means that if it doesn't want blacks, jews or females on its own property it can fire them, too?
This is just wrong. Corporations have private property rights if the corporation is a property owner. Further, if a corporation is prevented by a government from running, for example, a newspaper item or themselves printing a newspaper because of content, the corporation has first amendment rights they can protect as an entity. Corporations also have fourth amendment rights, though it becomes more hazy on fifth and sixth amendment rights. But to say they "don't have rights" is incorrect.
You do raise an interesting hypothetical. If the government owned 1% of AOL, could it then impose a firearm ban on company property?
I'd argue that it couldn't, although I suspect the judiciary would try to determine whether the government ownership was actually responsible for the ban. Excellent question.
But in regards to your hypothetical where one company (or even more than one) had a monopoly in the country that prohibited gun possession, I think that is constitutionally permissible. As long as it's private property, the property owner gets to make the rules for admission.
AOL sucks. They get their business from sending junk mail to people's houses (unsoliticited), and hope that a few suckers will install their "software". And like most corporations, I would not be surprised if they weren't also getting some money in underhanded ways.
But now you've got me thinking.
Those bastards sending me unsoliticed junk mail is a bigger infringement on my Rights than *any* infrigment on AOL by the employees that had guns in their cars.
Suing them for being right seems pretty dumb.
Here is another gem that shoudl give us pause and solace at the same time [emphasis added]:
447.01 Regulating labor unions; state policy.--
(1) Because of the activities of labor unions affecting the economic conditions of the country and the state, entering as they do into practically every business and industrial enterprise, it is the sense of the Legislature that such organizations affect the public interest and are charged with a public use. The working person, unionist or nonunionist, must be protected. The right to work is the right to live.
(2) It is here now declared to be the policy of the state, in the exercise of its sovereign constitutional police power, to regulate the activities and affairs of labor unions, their officers, agents, organizers and other representatives, in the manner, and to the extent hereafter set forth.
The headline doesn't fit with the story. It would be more nearly correct to say: AOL can ban employees from bringing guns to AOP property.
Read my lips. Corporations are citizens.
If a citizen has the right to prevent a woman from coming into her house with a gun in her purse, then a corporation has the right to prevent you from parking in their parking lot with a gun in your trunk.
Those rights are not currently protected as they should be, but you DO have them as a property owner.
My law school was the University of Southern California.
If I'm your employer, I can restrict the heck out of your right to free speech or to carry a weapon, or whatever.
Unfortunately, that right is being eroded, and it sounds like many here support that.
107 Dog Gone
USC law school taught you that employers have right to "restrict the heck out of your right to free speech or to carry a weapon, or whatever"?
You should sue the bastards.
Suing them for being right seems pretty dumb.
129 d Gone
Only a USC law school grad would think its dumb.
If the "rules" (made by any entity) are so cumbersome that you cannot vigorously exercise your Rights, then those Rights have been illegally infringed upon.
Suppose your company bans guns. Now you can't "keep and bear arms" for 50 hours a week.
Now suppose your state bans open carry. Then you can't "bear" arms at any time, save for those few hours a month you are at a range.
Then trains and planes ban guns. Now you can exercise your Right even less.
So basically, through no action of the federal government, your Rights have been severely violated. What recourse are a Free people to have? Are we simply supposed to move to another state, every time they infringe upon our Rights. Or quit our jobs? Or walk to our destination instead of taking a train?
Do you really think *this* is what our Founders had in mind when they shed blood in defense of Liberty? Do you think when Jefferson, etc.... wrote about Freedom, they had in mind a bunch of bureaucratic needledicks that could make "policy" to effectively eviscerate these Rights?
Quite the contrary, they created a gov't whos primary purpose was to defend our individual Rights. Be it from foreign or domestic enemies.
But both individuals and corporations do share the benefits and liabilities of private property ownership.
In our Orwellian world, that is probably the case in our "edicts".
That doesn't make it right, nor moral.
Wow, what a witty argument. That should impress any third-grader.
This should be no big deal. I live in California, and if I or other workers are going to shoot after work, we just park our cars on the street adjacent to the company parking lot. No one has ever even brought this issue up.