Senate Adds New Employer Liability Exposure to Budget Bill

Among the hundreds of law changes made to the state budget this week, the Senate slipped in a provision that would create a new civil cause of action that could be used against employers that attempt to restrict firearms in workplace parking lots.

If a business or private employer is found liable, a court may award compensatory damages and other relief, including attorney’s fees, according to this memo by OMA general counsel, Bricker & Eckler.

The memo notes that passage of SB199, the “bring your gun to work bill,” which became effective earlier this year, was bad for Ohio employers’ private property rights, but that “(t)he creation of a new private right of action for allegedly aggrieved employees is potentially worse.”

OMA signed onto a letter to House and Senate leadership with numerous other Ohio business organizations urging the removal of the provisions. The organizations wrote: ” … language now included in ORC 2923.1210 that was passed last year and opposed by many of our organizations allows individuals to store firearms in their privately-owned vehicles on employer property under certain circumstances. Amendment SC5837, which is both overly broad and vague, would exacerbate this problem by adding significant liability for all property owners and employers throughout the state.” 6/22/2017

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