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.
Amazing, eh, -- how many yahoos on FR lose sight of the primary purpose of government?
Perhaps they are so eager to pass themselves of as bona-fide 'conservatives' that they remain clueless to our basic constitutional principles, to protect an ~individuals~ right to life, liberty, & property.
A 'gun free' employee parking lot? Boy, now there's a principle worth fighting for.
Obviously, it's not a principle that you or I would fight for, but you as a libertarian should agree that an employer has the right to set whatever restrictions it wants on its property.
Within reason, yes.
A 'gun free parking lot' is not a reasonable goal. There are a multitude of good & legal reasons for having a weapon secured in your car. It is against public policy to unnecessarily & unreasonably restrict individual rights to life, liberty or property.
If an employer were to force an employee to stick on one party's sticker or remove the other party's sticker, a very strong case could be made that the employer's rights did not extend to making the employee choose a party to continue employment. However, if ALL political advertisements were banned in order not to offend customers, if would likely be upheld as a business-related right.
What! it wasn't AOL property and all the Corporation Idolators here were blowin smoke? Isn't that just too perfect?
You are incorrect about this. The Constitution does not confer any right to any corporation. The corporation owns the property, the corporation has no rights under the Constitution, only individuals do.
Time after time cases are won on this issue by kids in public schools who have been told they could not wear t-shirts with Confederate flags or religious messages. There are also numerous cases, three of which I have been personlly involved in as a paralegal, where an employee as been told he could not have religious or political symbols in his office or cubicle, and the employee wins.
Our rights do not cease to exist at the door or in the parking lot of our employers. The employer could have a policy of no smoking in the building or even on the property because smoking is not protected by the Constitution. But this judge has allowed a corporation to set up a zone where the Constitution is void.
Doesn't matter. The Constitution enumerates the rights of "the people", not "the people and all entities situated therein."
And I didn't go to law school, but I have read the Constitution.
I started with AOL in 1994 and left them in 1995, one year was enough for me as well.
The chances of me using them again, slim and none.
Unless the government forces all employers to ban firearms(*), you have every right to seek out an employer who won't.
(*) Unfortunately, the courts are trying to do precisely that.
As soon as I read this post, I remembered the case..
I KNEW I had read that the employees weren't in an AOL parking lot, but on "other property", and that AOL didn't have a claim on that basis alone..
Even if AOL "rents" the spaces from the parking lot owner, they DO NOT OWN THEM..
As a "renter" and not an "owner" of the property, they have no "right" to interfere with a gun owners rights...
( At least IMHO.... )
Not at all. They have the right to hire and fire as they please (with the excetions written into law for race, religion, etc., even in Texas). But that isn't what's being argued here. AOL essentially discriminated against a class of people (gun-owning employees) and likely in such a way as to show bias against someone carrying a firearm in their vehicle as opposed to any other deadly weapon like a knife, a baseball bat or a suitcase nuke. Unless AOL can go through everyone's trunk every morning so as to catch all violators of the policy, I think a legal case can be made that a class of people was systematically discrimanted against and a legal case can be made to forbid the policy or make it more equitable.
As I understand the facts of this particular case, the employees removed a firearm from one vehicle and put it in another, while on company property. If that is correct, the issue of whether the trunk of a vehicle parked on private property is considered to be space owned by the land owner or the vehicle owner is irrelevant.
So can a property owner demand that law enforcement officers not carry firearms on their property, or do we have two classes of citizens now?
"How does my right to have whatever I have in the locked trunk of my car changed simply due to where I have chosen to drive?"
Get caught on school property and you're toast.
What we have here are employees with guns who evidently shot off their mouths, OR there are snitches......
The corporation (and therefore the property) is ultimately owned by shareholders, who delegate the exercise of their property rights to the company's management.
Time after time cases are won on this issue by kids in public schools who have been told they could not wear t-shirts with Confederate flags or religious messages.
Totally different. A public school is a government entity, and therefore explicitly limited by the Constitution.
There are also numerous cases, three of which I have been personlly involved in as a paralegal, where an employee as been told he could not have religious or political symbols in his office or cubicle, and the employee wins.
Courts are wrong all the time.
Since we are talking about the company's private property why can't they make such a decision? Should I as a private citizen have the right to prevent others from carrying firearms on my property? I would think yes.
>>Tell ya what, the next time someone uses your driveway to turn around in please run out and douse the car with gasoline and set it aflame. To really test your "property rights"<<
That's the difference about private property, the owner is allowed to install a gate to STOP everyone from using their driveway as a turn around. We can even forbid police cars from doing it by installing a gate.
Depends on where your house is. If there are deed restrictions like there are here in Texas you may not be "allowed" to install that gate. The concept that just because you own property you can do whatever you want with it went "bye bye" long ago. So, the assertion that has been made that a property owner (AOL in this case) can do whatever they want with their own property is just not true. The ideas that they can do whatever they want with other people's property (employees cars) is a stretch.
What about a mailbox on your property. Who owns that? Or, if AOL can say what people can do with what is inside cars on their property can you stop the mailman and demand he remove certain letters/parcels from his bag that you don;t want on your property while he is there?
Interesting case this AOL case.
>>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.<<
BINGO! If you don't like the rules refuse to become a slave of the rules. Do not assist AOL in making a profit from your work.
No one's ever been mowed down by a gun locked in a trunk, either.
>>So can a property owner demand that law enforcement officers not carry firearms on their property, or do we have two classes of citizens now?<<
Short answer: Yes a property owner can demand that law enforcement officers not carry firearms on their property if the officers are not on official business.
AOL should change it's name to "internet for dummies"
I used it when I first got on the internet because I was very computer illiterate at the time and didn't know how to get on-line.
The first time I used an ISP elsewhere I cancelled AOL and went to an individual isp.
Most people on aol don't have the sense to do that.
>>What about a mailbox on your property.<<
Private mailboxes must be accessable from public property or if you have a slot in your door, you will find in your deed that you have given permission to the federal employee to enter your property for mail delivery purposes.
I owned a small ranch in Texas, (Lamar County)The private road from the highway also was the access to a half dozen other homes. It was shaped in a "Y" The ashpalt highway connect to the "V" portions.
At one time we discussed putting in electric gates to keep local teenagers from cruising the road. It was decided that I would just park a couple of my older non licensed trucks on the road to prevent thruway access. If you wanted to get to your home you needed to know which road to enter from. It stopped the kids from cruising and after two weeks I put the trucks back on my property.
AOL is against personal firearm ownership and I have always refused to do business with them for that stance.
True, but it is stopping from defending themselves on the way to and from work.
That's true, but corporations are not people and only have those "rights" which the people, via the government chooses to give them. What the goverment/pepple may give, they may take away. Corporations are artificial people only to the extent allowed by law. State law in most cases.
Yep, liable for not protecting their employees while at the same time preventing them from having the means to defend themselves. Meanwhile anyone intent on evil doing isn't going to be bothered by some corporate policy, assuming they are even an employee.
The Court likely decided correctly based on current law. But laws can be changed and corporate policies can be both stupid and oppressive. This one is both.
Nor can I remember anyone defending their life with one.
Eat your heart out Case, the Road Runner is after you, and you ain't no coyote.
Actually they were, and were instrumental in the earliest English and Dutch settlements in North America. Many of the colonial expeditions were corporate or corporate sponsered. Others were sponsered by the crown.
That said, corporations are creations of government, they are not people, other than to the limited extent provided by law.
While the postulated doorbell ringing would not be included, there are many situtations where use of deadly force is allowed to protect property as well as person. At least in Texas there is.
I noted these sentiments throughout this thread. Unfortunately, the concept of corporate "rights" is not very simple. Apparently, a clerk of the SCOTUS way back in 1886 included a headnote to a ruling indicating that corporations are persons.
That headnote (while not precedent-setting in itself) led to dozens of rulings affirming a corporation's rights of "personhood". A recent example occurred in the 70's, and Rehnquist actually pointed out the 1886 fallacy in his dissent.
But not to put too fine a point on it, it is not legally correct to say that corporations are not people for the purposes of interpreting their rights. All indications are that they are considered persons for these purposes more times than not.
I do appreciate the free CD/CD-ROM cases. I take out the CD-ROM, and either throw it away or keep it for target practice, but keep the case, after removing the offensive AOL inserts of course.
But if you are really good, you won't hit it ;~D
No, but they did mow down the Constitution.
Interesting. So if an officer does not comply with your wishes, what should you do, call a cop?
Not really, they have some "rights", but only as defined by law and subject to changes in the law. They do not have the right to vote for instance. A corportion cannot be incarcerated. In many cases even it's officers and managers are protected from legal consequences of their acts in the name of the corporation. Even the owners of the corporation, that is the stockholders, are only at risk for their actual capital invested, not for any damages the corporation might cause, nor for any debts the corporation might incur.
But those shareholders cannot be held liable for any damage due to the way their property rights are exercised. Thus corporate "rights" are not the same as individual rights. Corporate "rights" can be restricted or removed by law. Indivdual ones are not subject to prior restraint, but the individual can be held liable for the consequences of exercising those rights.
I'll agree that corporations are not equivalent to natural born persons and don't have all the same rights and obligations of real people, but it's pretty darn close.
You do know that Road Runner, which is a service of Time Warner cable, is owned by the same folks who own AOL. (AOLCNNTIMEWARNER we call it) Still if you want a cable modem in most cases you have only one choice. That is not the case with AOL. In fact you can get AOL broadband, Earthlink and in some locations a local ISP, or two via Time Warner Cable.
hope any freepers don't use AOL!
With a shotgun? :) A 12 ga shot column is bigger than the hole in the CD-ROM, even as it exits the barrel. In any event, I'm not *that* good, at least with a handgun at "interesting" ranges.
...disgruntled former employee....
People who have secure jobs are seldom a problem. Who needs AOL anyway?
Some people exercise their right to carry firearms as a means to defend themselves.
No it's not, it's part of a publically held corporation. Time Warner, which also owns CNN, Time and Lifes magazine and Warner Brothers TV and movie organizations. All of them are to one degree or another anti arms rights. Time is very open about it in fact. They exercise their freedom of speech to oppose our second amendment rights. I have little sympathy for them.
Time and Life
By entering into the location you consent to search of your person, vehicle, and effects, at the operator or drilling companies' discretion.
While seldom used on the locations I have been on, the policy exists, and refusal to submit to searches is cause for termination of employment or being banned from that drillling contractor's rigsites.
Their policy trumps my concealed weapons permit. Their rig and jobsite.
Like it or not, that is what anti-liability/pro-safety measures have come to.
That said, in most states, an unloaded firearm, secured in a locked area, of the vehicle, especially the trunk, is legal to posess (in the absence of other disqualifying considerations) even without a concealed weapons permit. The firearm is considered 'secured'.
Field stripped, stored in separate boxes, you have "parts", not a firearm. That may be an out. Stop at the gate and put your piece back together for the drive home.
Government cannot give special treatment to one company over another, at least not legally. Business dealings with companies are generally controlled by a bidding process, unless there ARE no competing companies.
Special treatment of industries does occur, and I am generally opposed to it, but it is not unconstitutional. Now, if an industry was given special treatment BECAUSE of treatment that would be unconstitutional if the government did it, that would be illegal, as I see it. Just my opinion.