You can take your kids to work. You can take your pets to work. But you can’t always take your gun to work.
Kentucky law – like similar laws in other states – grants protection against disciplinary action for employees who store a firearm in a private vehicle on their employer’s property, if the employee’s possession of the gun is otherwise legal.
Bruce Holly, who had a valid Kentucky concealed carry license, kept his handgun in his car’s center console while at work. The employee handbook issued by his employer, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Inc. (UPS SCS), stated the employer’s policy was to “prohibit the possession and/or use of weapons by any employee on UPS property.”
When Holly’s car broke down at work, his supervisor agreed he could take it to a repair shop, and authorized another employee to go with him so he would have a ride back. Before he left, Holly asked M., a coworker, if M. would keep the gun in his car. The switch took no more than five minutes, and Holly replaced the gun in his own car in the employee parking lot later that day. No one else had had access to the gun. Holly claimed that the same day, his supervisor told him he should remove the gun “ASAP from the property.”
Holly continued to safely store his gun in his vehicle while at work. Two months later, he was fired, after the employer’s security staff found out about his gun. Holly alleged his termination was illegal as violating Kentucky law, Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 527.020 and § 237.106, and the state’s common law on wrongful termination.
Ky. Rev. Stat. § 527.020(8), on carrying concealed weapon crimes, provides that a person not legally prohibited from possessing a gun may store a gun in a vehicle’s glove compartment, center console, seat pocket or other compartment or container inside the vehicle. Any attempt by a person to prohibit keeping a gun in a vehicle in accordance with this law gives rise to a civil cause of action for damages or other relief. The other law relied on by Holly, Section 237.110(17), allows a private business owner to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons at the workplace by concealed carry license-holders, but exempts the carrying of concealed deadly weapons and ammunition in a vehicle “owned by the employee.”
Holly argued that notwithstanding the given reason for his termination (the misuse of company time arising from Holly asking a subordinate employee, M., for a personal favor during work), the real or actual cause was his possession of a handgun on workplace property. Because this conduct was protected by statute, Holly said, his employer provided this other, pretextual reason to mask its true motive.