OK Gun Policy Law Violates OSHA's 'General Duty' Clause

October 29, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma said that a state law that prohibits employers from forbidding weapons at the workplace violated a clause of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

According to the opinion, OSHA’s “general duty” clause requires employers to “furnish each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”

Governor C. Brad Henry signed the bill prohibiting employers from restricting “any person, except a convicted felon, from transporting and storing firearms in a locked vehicle on any property set aside for any vehicle,” in March 2004.

In December 2004, ConocoPhilips and the Williams Cos. – both of which bar firearms from their properties –   tried to block the law, claiming that it violated employers’ property rights and due process rights, is unconstitutionally vague and in inconsistent with federal laws regulating firearms (See Sooner State Firms Battle Gun Law ). They were awarded a temporary restraining order for the effective date of the measure.

In 2005, according to the news report, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) filed a brief that said the law interfered with OSHA’s “general duty” clause, and the court agreed, saying that the law criminally prohibited “an effective method of reducing gun-related workplace injuries” and could not “coexist with federal obligations and objectives.”