Anti-Gun attorneys in Ohio continue to give biased legal advice to businesses

This Toledo Blade story has been picked up by Knight Ridder News Service, and published in the Miami (FL) Herald.

March 10, 2004
Toledo Blade

Attorneys Advise Ohio Employers to Tighten Ban on Guns in Businesses

Ohio employers may need to firm up their policies prohibiting guns -- or put such guidance in place -- if they want to ensure employees and visitors know they aren't allowed to carry weapons into businesses, attorneys dealing with employment issues say.

As the April 8 implementation date nears for the state's concealed weapons law, Toledo attorney Jim Yates said he is advising employers to make sure their policies spell out prohibitions on guns even if carriers have permits. Firms should take the next step, he added, and post signs at all entrances -and even in parking lots -- alerting employees, contractors, and vendors about no-weapons policies.

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"Employers are very interested in this issue and how it's going to impact their current policies," said Mr. Yates, of Fuller & Henry.

Said Stephanie Dutchess Trudeau, an attorney with Ulmer & Berne LLP in Cleveland: "It definitely is now something on their radar screens, and it's getting higher every day."

Existing policies prohibiting "unauthorized" guns need to be changed because employees and visitors may interpret that as meaning concealed weapons are allowed for those with permits, Mrs. Trudeau said.

Employers without gun policies, meanwhile, should consider putting them into effect and should make sure to address what actions, such as immediate termination, will be taken if weapons are found, she said.

Some local companies, such as Toledo's Owens Corning, have policies in place on concealed-weapons permits.

OC's policy makes clear that it applies even in states with concealed-weapons laws, and all visitors are told about the prohibition during an orientation about safety procedures, said spokesman David Dimmer.

Other local companies, however, are looking for assistance. The Employers' Association in Sylvania has been getting requests for a couple of months for sample weapons policies to serve as guides as well as inquiries about where to order signs detailing prohibited items, said Connie Wilson, director of human resources research.

Mr. Yates, the Toledo attorney, said he hopes such signs will become standardized in color, for example, so concealed weapons permit holders can easily spot them.

Employers don't have to post signs about weapons prohibitions, but gun-permit holders are going to be looking for them when they visit work sites, said Mrs. Trudeau, the Cleveland attorney. Even operators of day care centers, one place where Ohio's law forbids all guns, should consider posting signs to make sure the prohibition is known, she said.

OFCC sounded the alarm about Ms. Trudeau six weeks ago:
Cleveland lawyer shopping anti-self-defense op-ed

When considering discriminatory policies banning CHL-holders, businesses should be encouraged to read this Extraordinary Liability Advisory.

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