Tuesday, October 30, 2007
You know, I teach the General Duty Clause of OSHA every year in Employment Law class and not once did I consider that this amorphous provision may preempts state laws which prevent employers from banning guns from work.
But I'm glad someone thought about it. From Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM):
In a long-awaited decision, a federal judge of the U.S. District Court in Oklahoma sided with SHRM in finding that a workplace weapons bill passed by the Oklahoma legislature in 2004 (and amended in 2005), which prohibits employers from establishing policies banning employees from bringing weapons onto company property, is pre-empted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act's (OSHA) 'general duty' clause.
More specifically, the judge held:
[T]he Amendments [the Oklahoma weapons laws] conflict with and are preempted by the OSH Act, which requires employers to abate hazards in their workplaces that could lead to death or serious bodily harm and which encourages employers to prevent gun-related workplace injuries. The Amendments criminally prohibit an effective method of reducing gun-related workplace injuries and cannot coexist with federal obligations and objectives.
The case is ConocoPhillips v. Henry, 2007 WL 2908879 (N.D. Okla. 2007) (Westlaw Subscription required).