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New law, pending bill extend workers’ rights to use deadly force

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Gov. Rick Perry recently signed new legislation that extends an individual’s right to use force without retreat in the face of a criminal attack.

Until now, a 1995 exception to a 1973 statute required persons to retreat except when an intruder unlawfully entered their home. Senate Bill 378, however, extends the right to persons in their vehicles and workplaces as well. The new law goes into effect on September 1, 2007.

Meanwhile, another piece of gun-rights legislation recently cleared the state Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Bill 534 would allow employees to keep concealed handguns locked in their cars at work in certain circumstances.

According to the bill's author, state Sen. Glenn Hegar, the legislation prohibits both public and private employers from disciplining, discharging or discriminating against employees who have handguns in their cars in company parking lots. Employees, however, would be required to notify their employers if they had guns in their cars.

Final note: Employers will have to reconcile providing employees with a safe workplace (as required by OSHA) and allowing guns on or near the premises. Before creating a weapons policy for your company, consult with an experienced attorney. 

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