Pennsylvania is one of 28 states that has not passed a law addressing the issue of firearms in the workplace, and a state court ruled in 2015 that a national express delivery service had the right to terminate a driver for keeping a gun in his personal vehicle while on the job. Florida and Indiana have laws on their books that broadly protect the Second Amendment rights of workers, and about 20 states allow employees to leave their guns in their locked cars after arriving at work.
The issue is an important one because on-the-job violence affects about 2 million American workers each year according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and guns are a particular concern for safety advocates because Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that homicide is the fifth most common cause of workplace deaths in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers in Pennsylvania and around the country to rid their workplaces of recognized hazards, but the 1970 law does not directly address the issue of firearms.
Guns were involved in eight out of 10 workplace homicides in 2013, and researchers have discovered that this kind of incident is five times more likely to occur at workplaces where firearms are permitted. Pennsylvania does not have a right-to-carry law, and experts believe that this makes the passage of a law permitting firearms in the workplace unlikely.
In addition to coping with possible increases in workers’ compensation costs, employers in Pennsylvania that do not address the issue of guns in the workplace may face lawsuits filed by injured third parties. Attorneys with experience in this area could also initiate litigation against employers when their failure to address workplace safety matters is so egregious that it amounts to malicious intent.
Source: Employment Law Update, “No Right to ‘Bring Your Gun to Work” in PA”, Michael Homans, Sept. 8, 2015