This issue has special interest for me, since my own employer prohibits the carrying of weapons in the work place, but also knows that it cannot prohibit the carry of weapons in the public parking lot adjacent to my place of work.
On a personal note, I’ve pressed this issue up the chain of command, to no avail. They want to maintain, how do they say it, “a safe work place.” So in order to effect this end, they prohibit self defense and show us those idiotic active shooter videos where they enact an active shooter event and show you what to do.
It’s embarrassing to watch it, and it’s even more embarrassing to work for a company where they show such juvenile rubbish. So the recommendations? Hide under desks and be very quiet. If the shooter sees you, throw potted plants at him. Run. Run very fast. Wait for law enforcement to show up 15 minutes later – after 100 people have already perished. Then when the dust settles but people are still in mourning, the company gets to go to court or negotiate with lawyers over those 100 preventable deaths, and give away a billion dollar class action settlement. That’s the way that would work out. Only lawyers could dream up something so stupid. All in the interest of a safe work place. A jury will know what I’m talking about, because most of them have seen the same idiotic video.
So this case interests me.
A Universal Orlando worker who was fired after someone stole a gun from his car at work has sued his former employer.
Dean Kumanchik’s lawsuit was filed in Orange County Circuit Court on Thursday. According to a copy of the complaint sent by his attorney, Universal fired Kumanchik the day before Christmas. A ride technician who earned more than $30 an hour, Kumanchik had worked at Universal more than 20 years.
The lawsuit gives this account: A licensed concealed weapons holder, Kumanchik regularly took his gun to and from work and kept it locked in his vehicle. He parked in an area accessible to both employees and the public. In December, someone broke into his vehicle and stole the gun. He reported it to police. Upon learning what had happened, Universal immediately fired him.
Kumanchik’s lawsuit asserts that Universal violated an eight-year-old law allowing Floridians with concealed-weapons permits to keep firearms locked in their cars at work.
A Universal spokesman said the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Orlando’s big theme parks have previously claimed they are exempt from the law, however.
After the law went into effect, Universal cited an exemption for school property as a justification for its ban. Orange County Public Schools runs an alternative education program called the Universal Education Center on the property.
Claiming that exemption is “nonsense,” Kumanchik’s attorney Richard Celler said. “In our opinion the school they claim is some little building way out of the way, nowhere near the premises or parking lot where he was performing work.”
After the law went into effect, Walt Disney World cited an exemption for property owned by an employer who has a permit for explosives. Disney has such a permit for the fireworks used in its theme parks.
The notion of a “school” on the property is an accidental feature of the decision to fire the employee, and not the reason Universal has a policy against guns. They reflexively fired him because of discriminatory policies, and then the lawyers hunted for some justification for what they did in the law. They landed on the fortuitous wording of a “school” on the property (in some cataloged training literature or procedures, or maps they give employees), which is likely nothing more than a training center, something all corporations have. A jury will know what I’m talking about. I can guarantee you that the legislature didn’t have corporate training centers in mind when they used the word “school.” My own state prohibits weapons on school property and playgrounds as well. Do you think “playgrounds” includes pick-up games of football after work in the nearest open field?
One commenter has this to say:
Florida is an at-will employment state without the Covenant of Good Faith Exemption. That means employers do not even have to pretend to be fair when they fire you. You can do everything right, follow orders to a T, excel in every way, and the boss can give you the axe with no justification at all. Sucks to be employed in Florida, but Universal is within its legal rights.
He thinks he’s smart, but this isn’t even nearly right. I’m an at will employee too, but the company cannot discriminate against, for example, the elderly, or black workers, or women, and claim that something like that is justifiable due to at-will employment contracts. That’s why corporations offer attractive separation packages to workers in their 60’s rather than firing them outright and claiming the existence of at-will contracts. The jury will know exactly what I’m talking about. Universal fired this worker because of discriminatory attitudes concerning self defense and the second amendment. Counsel had better be ready for this strategy during trial.
Associated court documents.