Ohio has adopted a new “parking lot law” regarding guns in the work place. The law restricts both public and private business entities from prohibiting persons with valid concealed carry weapons (“CCW”) permits from having weapons in their vehicle when parked on company property. If the CCW permit holder is not in the vehicle, the weapon must be locked in the trunk, glove compartment or another enclosed compartment. If the CCW permit holder is in the vehicle, the weapon must also be in the vehicle. Finally, the vehicle must be parked in an authorized location on the employer’s premises.
Many employers have a provision in their Personnel Manual, or a separate workplace violence policy, that prohibits firearms on employer property under all circumstances. Under this new law, such employers cannot prohibit valid CCW permit holders from having weapons inside their vehicles on company parking lots if the CCW permit holder complies with the foregoing conditions. The new Ohio law takes effect on March 19, 2017. Personnel Manuals that have a blanket prohibition on having weapons on the employer’s property should be revised to comply with this new law.