Most employee handbooks have the basics: sick leave policies, respecting the work environment, tardiness policies, etc. More often than not, they do not have additional policies that could become a necessity – such as a weapons policies.
Designing a basic handbook weapons policy gives your company a safer environment by preventing possession of weapons. Our article will share some of the best practices to design such a handbook and maintain HR compliance.
In this article:
Understanding a Workplace Weapons Policy
Why there is a need for a workplace weapons policy in the first place, is subject to many factors. The purpose of such a policy is to ensure a safe working environment for the employees, clients, and other stakeholders of a working environment. Such a policy designates and explains if and what weapons are allowed within a company’s buildings, properties, and vehicles.
There has been a significant rise in shootings in the workplace in the U.S. with a total of 17,865 workplace homicides from 1992 to 2019. As these numbers motivate certain people to claim that having guns and other weapons with you at work keeps you safe, another percentage argues that the lack of a workplace weapons policy is exactly the reason why this might be happening.
When we understand the legal framework around firearms, guns, and other weapons on a work property and environment and we ensure that the policies adequately address workplace violence, we can promote a safe work environment while respecting employees’ rights.
Designing a Workplace Weapons Policy: 4 Steps
Review your State Laws Concerning Weapons Policies
The regulations governing the ownership of firearms differ in each state. Employers should collaborate with an HR specialist or an employment lawyer familiar with local state labour legislation. Employers with locations across several states should get ready to create several different policies. If there are significant differences in state laws, they could need to develop various regulations for other areas. For instance, “parking lot laws” or “bring your gun to work laws” in several jurisdictions permit people to bring their firearm to work as long as they lock it in their personal vehicle. Even if the automobile and gun are in the employer’s parking lots, they are allowed to do this. In other countries, employers can prohibit guns from anywhere onto their property in other states.
Verify your Policies with Insurance Carriers
If employers permit workers to carry firearms or other weapons into the workplace, they may be exposed to far greater liability.
Design the policy
HR team members and managers should include the following crucial components in their policy on weapons:
- Compliance by the state with federal and state legislation;
- Explain the purpose of the policy;
- If you allow employees to carry guns into your property, explain how they must be stored;
- Give an overview of the workplace’s methods for preventing violence on-site, such as annual inspections.
List the following as forbidden behavior:
- Causing another person physical harm;
- Intentionally causing harm to business property or the property of another employee;
- Carrying a weapon while conducting business or using company property;
- Describe the reporting process, including who to report violence or threats of violence to and how to do so;
- Describe emergency protocols and make it clear that personnel shouldn’t confront or disarm potentially hazardous people;
- Awareness that non-compliant personnel will face consequences.
Employers may decide to share the fully updated employee handbook with employees if they totally update it with new weapons policies. If all they’re doing is amending or developing a new weapon policy, they merely need to tell the staff. The handbook or policy must conclude with an acknowledgment page that all staff members must sign. It is recommended to keep these signed acknowledgment papers with any other physical or digital HR records. If an employee needs to be disciplined or sued over the weapons policy, having these signed acknowledgment pages on hand will be essential.