Utah’s Highest Court Upholds Employer’s Policy Preventing the Carrying or Possession of Firearms on Company Property

Volume 3, Issue 11
August 4, 2004

Three employees working at an America Online ("AOL") call center in Ogden, Utah were discharged in September 2000 for violating AOL&sdquo;s workplace violence prevention policy by bringing guns to work in their cars, which were parked in a company leased parking lot. The employees, who claimed that they were planning to go target shooting at a local gun range after work that day, subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging they were wrongfully discharged in violation of public policy. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of AOL and the former employees appealed.

The Utah Supreme Court held that even though Utah has a clear and substantial public policy favoring the keeping and bearing of firearms, as evidenced in Utah's Constitution and state statutes, such a public policy does not inhibit an employer's right to ban firearms from its property or to terminate at-will employees for violating such a prohibition.

While this decision is not binding on the courts in Nevada, it is persuasive authority that reinforces the safety reasons behind workplace violence polices and restrictions on the presence of firearms and other weapons on company property.

Hansen v. America Online, Inc., No. 20020288, 2004 WL 1608821 (Utah July 20, 2004).

KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.