Labor & Employment

Fired worker sues ex-employer, says he was illegally terminated for having a gun in his vehicle

A Wisconsin man has sued his now-former employer, contending he was illegally fired because he kept a gun in his parked vehicle at his workplace, as allowed by his concealed-carry permit and state law.

Alleging that Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co. Inc. terminated him after a human resources representative asked if he kept a gun in his car and if he had shown it to another worker (the answer to both questions was yes), Ethan Shepherd says his firing violated a provision of Wisconsin’s concealed-carry law. It states: “An employer may not prohibit a licensee … from storing a weapon …in the licensee’s … own motor vehicle, regardless of whether the motor vehicle is used in the course of employment or whether the motor vehicle is driven or parked on property used by the employer,” reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Proof and Hearsay blog.

The Marathon County Circuit Court suit he filed last week seeks a declaratory judgment upholding his interpretation of the gun law, reinstatement and back pay. Wisconsin Carry Inc. is helping to fund the litigation, in which Shepherd is represented by gun rights practitioner John Monroe of Georgia, the newspaper says.

The Kolbe company did not respond to requests for comment by the newspaper and the Associated Press. However, the AP says there is a dispute over whether Shepherd showed the gun to another employee inside or outside his car, relying on information provided by Nik Clark, the president of Wisconsin Carry.

“I think this case should put companies on notice to review their corporate policies and make sure they don’t expose themselves to legal jeopardy,” Clark told the Journal Sentinel. “Many companies have out-of-date policies. An unknowing HR manager who relies on a legacy corporate policy could cost a company a great deal of money and bad press as well.”

Hat tip: Pierce County Herald.

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