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 flatly disagree. Do you personaly know any 'corporate leaders' ?
I assume, from the quote, that you believe firing an employee can constitute injury, oppression, threat, or intimidation. But then where do you draw the line? If an employee wants to spout Nation of Islam philosophy at work, and he's fired, has he had his free speech rights violated? Can Linda Ronstandt sue the Aladdin for being removed from the stage for voicing her free speech rights? Is there a limit? What do you see as the employers' ability to restrict an employees' actions?
Let me rephrase that: "if a company were to decline to hire anyone who did not sign an affidavid stating that they did not own any firearms..." Any prospective employee would have the right to find such a policy objectioanle and walk out the door. And any current employee who at any time found such a policy objectionable would likewise be free to hand in walking papers and leave as well.
If I don't own a gun, and I decide to spend all my money on things other than firearms, my right to own a gun doesn't mean I can reasonably demand to be given one, nor does my lack of money mean I don't have a right to own a gun. The right to own a gun doesn't guarantee that one can do so without giving up other non-rights (like a year's worth of cable TV). If I decide the cable TV is more important than a firearm, it's my right to make that decision. I'll still have the right to get a gun as soon as I decide it's important enough for me to give up some other things so I can afford it.
Yes. Firing a person in the exercise of their Rights definately "injures" them, "oppresses" them, and "threatens" them.
If an employee wants to spout Nation of Islam philosophy at work, and he's fired, has he had his free speech rights violated?
No. Under common law, your Rights end where the other fellow's nose begins. A company has an expectation that you perform the work the pay you to do. If you fail to do so, they can fire you. So if you want to build a shooting range at work, or preach to the masses, they can definitely fire you, and have not violated your civil Rights.
On the other, they are violating your civil Rights if they fire you for having a gun or religious material or sex toys or whatever in your car.
Can Linda Ronstandt sue the Aladdin for being removed from the stage for voicing her free speech rights?
No. Now if she were sitting in her car, talking on her cellphone, and they fired her for what she was saying on the phone (unless it was propreitary company information), then she would absolutely have grounds for a lawsuit.
What do you see as the employers' ability to restrict an employees' actions?
They can do many things, but restricting the civil Rights of an employee is not one of them.
They can no more legally violate the civil Rights on any employee than they can refuse to pay social security taxes for him or her.
A company has an expectation that you perform the work the pay you to do. If you fail to do so, they can fire you. So if you want to build a shooting range at work, or preach to the masses, they can definitely fire you, and have not violated your civil Rights.
What if you are able to preach to the masses, for example, but still fulfill your employment obligations? What if you are the highest performing employee in your group, but you still like to proselytize? And I am still trying to differentiate the Linda Ronstadt situation... after all, she was removed for making statements that she obviously has a First Amendment right to make (and which, I'd say, the Aladdin has every right to disavow and remove her for making, since it is their property). But agruably, she did perform a concert as well, so did she fulfill her employment duties?
I still can't determine where/when an employer violates one's civil rights. Obviously an employer has to be able to control an employee to some extent... you can't use your free speech to spend all day making personal calls, etc. I am mulling over your approach that as long as you "perform the work they pay you to do" your other actions are exempt. That definition doesn't seem workable to me... too many loopholes. Why can't AOL say that part of the work they pay these people to do is to participate in the maintenance of a gun free employment environment? If they said that, as part of the hiring process, would your opinion be the same, or do you think these employees were sandbagged? It just seems that an employer could define your "duties" using really mushy language (i.e., it is part of your employment to celebrate the diversity of others kind of crap) and, using your definition, be okay. I guess for me it comes down to an employer can control your actions on their premises... not your thoughts, and not your racial/ethnic identity (difference between behavior and identity, covers prohibitions against racial discrimination). In this case, the guys were fired for having guns on the property (behavior on premises), not for being gun owners or hunting on own time. It's not a perfect solution but it seems the most workable to me... I still have faith in the market (employment and consumer) to work it out. Look at what happened to Whoopi Goldberg, after all.....
Yes indeed. I think most of the major points have been touched on, and I've learned a lot from this thread.
The big point I take away from all this is that the first purpose of government is to protect our Rights, regardless of where the threat comes from. Be it a foreign enemy or a domestic one.
Also, we Americans need to be very wary of the emerging government-corporate "parterships" (i.e., fascism). This is where the gov't gives preferrential treatment to a company in return for that company doing what the government wants. Sometimes it's blatant, sometimes not.
It is a very sneaky way of the government implementing agendas that they cannot get away with by going through the standard legislative and electoral procedures. It represents a real threat to our Freedom, and it's disappointing to see many conservatives rallying behing corporate "rights" at the expense of individual Rights.
Under your definition restaurants are public property and the government should have the right to ban smoking in them. Is that your contention?
And companies do not have rights under the Constitution, people do.
And yet they get enormous tax breaks unavailable to people. Go figure.
"This is not stopping anyone from hunting after work."
what does this have to do with hunting???? that drives me nuts when someone argues the right of gun ownership is dependent upon is relation to 'hunting'.
Generally property restaurants sit on are either owned by the restaurant or lease from private real estate investors. I can't think of a single restaurant where I live that sits on land owned by the government. I have no idea what they do "up nawth."
And "the people" tolerate it. Because they get tax breaks from the government doesn't mean they have the same rights as individuals. We can make up the loss for their tax breaks and they can institute tyranny as a big "thank you."
We don't tolerate it. The only two political parties with power ensure that that is the way it is and will be.
If the government owns an apartment building or house as sometimes happens, should they have the right to tell us what kind of sex we may engage in within that house?
Sex is not a Constitutionally protected right. The right to bear arms is. You are trying to compare apples to orangutangs, or however you spell that! :-P
Exactly! Now you're starting to catch on. The people absolutely do tolerate it by sending the same members of the same two parties back to make the rules for them.
Misleading headline. Owning a gun is not the reason; bringing it onto company property is.
I didn't check the length of the thread before posting my reply; there are probably 40 more just like it...
So we are witnessing the federalization of property rights as well.