Glad to See the General Assembly Taking Employee Rights Seriously

The gun fanatics apparently have convinced the Republican leadership in the State Senate to hold a vote on the bill that would require employers to allow their employees to keep guns in their parked cars at work.  This from the party that professes to believe in less goverment, free enterprise, being business friendly, and having a hands off approach to employer-employee relations, comes a law that would require employers (including private employers) to give their employees Constitutional rights that they have never been afforded while on the job.  What is next?  Give employees Constitutional free speech rights when on the job? Remember, citizens only have Constitutional rights when it involves government action, not private employers.

If passed and signed by the Governor, this would be quite a shift in public policy in the State of Georgia.  For over 150 years, mostly under Democratic Party rule, Georgia has stubbornly remained an employee-at-will state.  While Federal laws have been passed prohibing certain employment discrimination (based on race, gender, religion, disability, etc.) for employers who engage in interstate commerce and generally employ 15 or more people, Georgia businesses who employ less than 15 employees are free to discriminate – able to discipline or terminate an employee for any reason at all – even sex discrimination – with no consequences under the law. 

If the General Assembly sees it fit to prohibit discrimination against gun owners, I would expect the General Assembly to take the next step and finally recognize, as most states have, that under Georgia law all employers can no longer discriminate based on race, sex, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, etc. and protect private employee whistleblowers from retaliation.

28 comments

  1. rugby_fan says:

    “If the General Assembly sees it fit to prohibit discrimination against gun owners, I would expect the General Assembly to take the next step and finally recognize, as most states have, that under Georgia law all employers can no longer discriminate based on race, sex, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, etc. and protect private employee whistleblowers from retaliation.”

    Quite possibly one of the funniest things I have ever read.

  2. Bill Simon says:

    So, Decaturguy, why is it you Lefties just hate the fact of individuals being able to defend themselves?

    You know, between work and home, there are lots of opportunities for a person to get carjacked…yet, you’d rather wring your hands and worry about the gun in the parked car of someone at work.

  3. DutchDawg says:

    Bill, you’re exactly right. I’m sure Reggie Ball and all the other North Avenue Trade Schoolers would have picked up on that.

  4. Jason Pye says:

    Remember, citizens only have Constitutional rights…

    I just don’t like that phrase, “Constitutional rights.” It implies that the government grants us rights as opposed to protecting natural rights.

    I do agree that this is a matter of property rights. Employers should be allowed to ban firearms on their property if they feel it necessary.

  5. Doug Deal says:

    I am a strong believer in the right to own guns, but I think this is the government infringing on the rights of privately owned businesses. If they want to force state and local government offices to allow guns in the parking lots, that is one thing. If I was a business owner, I should be able to decide who carries weapons onto my property. However, I should have no right to dictate what is in a vehicle parked on the street or in a private lot not under my control.

  6. jsm says:

    The law already protects a person’s right to have a gun in his or her car. Whether an employer allows it should only affect a person’s decision to work for that employer. How’s the employer going to know if a firearm is in a car in the parking lot, anyway? Does an employer have the right to search an automobile? I doubt it.

  7. Decaturguy says:

    So, Decaturguy, why is it you Lefties just hate the fact of individuals being able to defend themselves?

    Why, Bill, do you want the government to control relations between employee and employer?

    You know, between work and home, there are lots of opportunities for a person to get carjacked…yet, you’d rather wring your hands and worry about the gun in the parked car of someone at work.

    If an employee is so concerned about being carjacked on the way home and not being able to keep a gun in his/her car, they should find an employer who will let them.

    There is still lots of opportunity in modern day Georgia for people be be discriminated against in their employment, but Georgia has said that if this happens to you on the job, find a new employer.

  8. Paul Shuford says:

    Why are gun owners so concerned about this bill and not about HB 6? You know, the bill that prevents the State of Georgia from confiscating your guns during an emergency, like what happened in New Orleans?

    The last I heard about HB 6 was that Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), the Chairman of House Rules committee was stalling this bill, preventing it from reaching the floor for a vote. Unless it reaches a vote by tomorrow (the 21st of March) it’s dead for a year.

    Has anyone heard anything else about HB 6? This is the last I heard about it, and that was this weekend.

  9. I have no problem with S.B 43 to allow employees to keep guns in their cars. It is their second amendment rights. It is the governments duty to protect civil liberties of people, not just in the government sector. I guess Decaturguy does it like this bill. I believe it is the government’s duty to protect the rights and civil liberties of its people.

  10. bowersville says:

    Label me cynical, but I have a different viewpoint on this development, if it’s real that it will be debated on the floor.

    I see it as a thumb in the eye of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. In other words, you want to endorse buying beer on Sunday, then you’ll have a gun in the parking lot on Monday.

    This should solely be a debate on private property rights. An automobile is an extension of your home according to the US Supremes. A business is private property. So you have conflicting law regarding private property.

    It should be an interesting debate. If this particular issue hasn’t previously been resolved by the courts, it will be.

    It has nothing to do with employer/employee relations.

  11. Decaturguy says:

    It is their second amendment rights. It is the governments duty to protect civil liberties of people, not just in the government sector.

    John, from a legal standpoint, you are absolutely wrong. Constitional rights only protect you from government action. You do not have Constitutional rights against actions by private entities or individuals. You don’t have free speech rights at work (if you work for a private employer), and you don’t have 2nd Amendment rights at work either.

  12. Bavaria Guy,
    You think you are only protected from action by the Government. So would your opposition means we have no rights in the private sector. This is starting to sound like Fascism. My nickname for you is Bavaria Guy becuase this sounds like where it came from in 1930’s

  13. I do not why people only have the logic that only civil liberties protect you from the government. I disagree with that. It is the governments duty to protect civil liberties of people, not just in the government sector. I believe civil liberties needs to be protected in private sector also.

  14. Decaturguy says:

    OK, Josh, them we should have 1st Amendment freedom of speech rights on the job as well then, right? You want the power of big government to prohibit private businesses from disciplining or terminating employees for exercising free speech that they do not agree with?

  15. Bill Simon says:

    Decaturguy,

    The automobile that one drives to work has been deemed by the Georgia State Supreme Court to be part of the private residence of the person who drives/owns the vehicle.

    THUS the reason why it is legal for someone to keep a gun in their middle console OR their glovebox.

    THUSLY, the employer does not have the right to invade that right to privacy where their employee’s privacy is concerned.

  16. dingleberry says:

    Josh,

    I have a question. Do you pronounce the last part of your screen name “On Ditch” or “On Dick”?

  17. Decaturguy says:

    An employer does have the right to invade the privacy of their employees when they are on their property. They can read their emails, tap their phones, track their movement, etc.

    The automobile that one drives to work has been deemed by the Georgia State Supreme Court to be part of the private residence of the person who drives/owns the vehicle.

    Does that include when the automobile is on an employer’s property?

  18. bowersville says:

    Don’t know Decaturguy, that’s why it’s going to be an interesting debate to be ultimately decided by the Supremes.

    If Simon is correct, and I believe he is, the Ga Supreme followed the lead of the US Supreme.

  19. dogface says:

    Political Notes – Clash of the Titans
    by Tom Crawford on 3/21/2007

    On the national political scene, there are few if any lobbying organizations with more political clout than the NRA.

    On the Georgia political scene, that same description would certainly apply to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

    The two groups are in a deadly struggle over the fate of SB 43, the NRA-backed bill that would make it illegal for businesses to enforce rules or policies that prohibit their employees from keeping firearms in their motor vehicles when those vehicles are on a company parking lot.

    This “guns in the workplace” bill has been debated on several occasions over the last few legislative sessions as a clash of property rights (on the part of businesses) and Second Amendment gun rights (on the part of employees).

    The Georgia Chamber believes SB 43 will be on the Senate calendar for a vote on crossover day next Tuesday. Here are some excerpts from an email alert sent to Chamber members this week:

    The Georgia state Senate will vote Tuesday, March 27th, on Senate Bill 43, which casts Georgia’s job creators as the “bad guys” and threatens to undermine private property rights for all Georgians. The bill is an unjustified intrusion on the rights of Georgia businesses and property owners and should be defeated.

    If enacted, SB 43 would prevent employers from adopting policies to prohibit employees from bringing guns on private company property. The only exemption to the law would be state and federal government property.

    Using automated “robo-calls” and threats from its Washington, D.C. office, the National Rifle Association is trying to intimidate our state Senators into passing this anti-employer, anti-private property rights bill. Tell your Senators to vote NO! . . .

    The email contends that SB 43, which is sponsored by Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), “creates new, potentially significant liability ‘catch-22’ for employers, blocking policies that prevent the introduction of weapons in the workplace, but simultaneously subjecting business owners to costly litigation if an attorney can prove the company ‘should have known’ weapons in the workplace might be used in the commission of a crime. Tell your Senator not to let the NRA bully them into passing bad public policy that infringes on the rights of business and private property owners.”

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