NEW LAW: Tennessee Amends Workplace Weapons Laws to Allow Carrying of Concealed Weapons

Under Tennessee law, employers are generally permitted to prohibit employees from possessing weapons at meetings conducted by an employer or on property owned, operated, managed, or under the control of an employer.

In order to prohibit weapons in the workplace, Tennessee employers must follow extremely stringent notice requirements.  The notice of the prohibition must be posted in prominent locations, including at all entrances of the building(s) where weapons are prohibited and all entrances of the property (if weapons are prohibited on company property in general).  The sign must contain the following elements:

  • the phrase “NO FIREARMS ALLOWED,” which must be at least one-inch high and eight inches wide;
  • the words “As authorized by T.C.A. § 39-17-1359” (in any size as long as it is “plainly visible”); and
  • a picture of a firearm inside a circle with a slash symbol over the firearm, at least 4 inches high and 4 inches wide with the diagonal slash at a 45-degree angle from the lower right to the upper left of the circle.

On April 24, 2018, Governor Bill Haslam signed Public Chapter No. 823 into law.  This law amends Tennessee’s workplace weapons law and provides new guidelines that employers can follow to allow employees to carry concealed weapons in the workplace.  If an employer chooses to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry handguns on their property, the employer must provide notice by posting signage (in the same locations as the weapons prohibited signs) that contains the following elements:

  • the phrase “CONCEALED FIREARMS BY PERMIT ONLY,” which must be at least one-inch high and eight inches wide;
  • the words “As authorized by T.C.A. §§ 39-17-1351 and 39-17-1359” (in any size as long as it is “plainly visible”)
  • a picture of a firearm inside a circle with a slash symbol over the firearm, at least 4 inches high and 4 inches wide with the diagonal slash at a 45-degree angle from the lower right to the upper left of the circle.

If an employer chooses to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry handguns on their property, the employer may still prohibit employees and others from having firearms on employer premises.  The only exception is that an employer cannot prohibit a permit holder from keeping a firearm locked out of sight in his or her personal vehicle parked on the employer’s premises.