Can employers in Texas prevent employees from carrying firearms at the workplace? This is a common question among many employers since the passage of the Firearm Carry Act of 2021, which took effect on September 1, 2021. The law is similar to bills passed in other states that allow individuals to carry firearms without a permit. In Texas, anyone who is 21 or older can possess and carry a firearm publicly without obtaining a permit. The law does not allow individuals to carry firearms if they are otherwise prohibited to do so under Texas state or federal law. Further, the law still prohibits the public carrying of firearms in certain places and spaces, which may prevent some employers from needing to determine whether or not the new law affects whether they can bar an employer from bringing a handgun to work.
Our Dallas employment law attorneys want to provide you with the key information you need concerning the Act and its effects on employment spaces.
Texas Labor Code Allows Employers to Prohibit Employee Open Carry
Under the Texas Labor Code, public and private employers can prohibit employees from carrying handguns on the premises of the business. Section 52.061 indicates that an employer cannot prohibit an employee who is otherwise lawfully allowed to possess a firearm to transport or store that firearm “in a locked, privately-owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area the employer provides for employees.” However, the statute clarifies that “Section 52.061 does not prohibit an employer from prohibiting an employee” who is lawfully allowed to possess a firearm “to possess on the premises of the employer’s business.”
In other words, an employer in Texas is allowed to prohibit an employee from carrying a firearm on the employer’s premises (i.e., the workplace). The new Texas Firearm Carry Act does not affect an employer’s right to prohibit employees from the open carry of firearms in the workplace. However, it is important to know that Texas law does not allow an employer to prohibit an employee from carrying a firearm on a public walkway, parking lot, or other similar area around the workplace itself.
Prohibitions Remain in Certain Workplaces
In some types of workplaces, both before and after the passage of the new law, carrying firearms in certain workplaces is prohibited. For example, firearms cannot be carried in the following places:
- Sporting events;
- Hospitals; and
- Nursing homes.
Texas law also prohibits firearms in other places, as well. Accordingly, employers may not need to expressly prohibit firearms on the employment premises in such places, although it is important to seek guidance from a Texas employment law attorney.
Employers Can Prohibit Customers From Carrying Firearms
Employers in Texas should also know that the new law allows them to prohibit firearms on business premises — even if firearms are otherwise allowed in that type of place — but the business must provide notice to the public either orally or with signage that makes clear that firearms are prohibited on the business premises.
Contact an Employment Lawyer in Dallas
Do you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as an employer under the Firearm Carry Act of 2021? Our experienced Texas employment law attorneys can assist you. Contact Simon Paschal PLLC for more information.