Saturday, March 26, 2016

MS: Supreme Court: Statutory Protection of Employee 2A Rights is Valid

Mississippi is a hire or fire at will state.  The Doctrine is from the State Supreme Court.  Employers or employees may terminate their relationship at will, for any or no reason. There are very few exceptions to this Mississippi legal doctrine.  Those exceptions have to be codified by the legislature.  That is exactly what the legislature did regarding the exercise of Second Amendment rights through the storage of firearms in employees' locked vehicles on company property.

A company, Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, ignored the state law and fired an employee, Robert Swindol, for violating the policy.  They publicly fired Swindol in front of other employees and explained why they had done so.  Swindol sued, and the case was appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

The Fifth Circuit noted that the company violated state law:
The Fifth Circuit began its discussion by noting Mississippi Code Section 45-9-55(1), which provides:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of this section, a public or private employer may not establish, maintain, or enforce any policy or rule that has the effect of prohibiting a person from transporting or storing a firearm in a locked vehicle in any parking lot, parking garage, or other designated parking area.
Miss. Code Ann. § 45-9-55(1) (Rev. 2015). The cross-referenced subsection (2) provides a different rule for certain secured parking lots, but neither party claims that rule applies here. Swindol, 805 F.3d at 521. It also is “undisputed that Aurora had a firearms policy that is inconsistent with [Section 45-9-55].”
The Fifth Circuit said that there was no case law on the subject in Mississippi, so they referred the case to the Mississippi Supreme Court.  The Mississippi Supreme court found that the legislature was empowered to protect the individuals exercise of Second Amendment rights as it had.  From Swindol v. Aurora Flight Sciences Corp. MS Supreme Court(pdf):
Swindol appealed, and the Fifth Circuit has now certified the following question to this Court:
Whether in Mississippi an employer may be liable for a wrongful discharge of an employee for storing a firearm in a locked vehicle on company property in a manner that is consistent with [Mississippi Code] Section 45-9-55.
Swindol v. Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., 805 F.3d 516, 523 (5th Cir. 2015). The Fifth Circuit also concluded that it “would benefit from [this Court’s] analysis of whether Section 45-9-55(5) bars” Swindol’s suit. Id. at 522.
The Mississippi Supreme Court found that the Constitution and statutes of Mississippi protected the right to keep and bear arms, including in a persons's vehicle.  In conclusion the Mississippi Supreme Court wrote:
 While Mississippi is an at-will employment state, that doctrine is not absolute. This Court repeatedly has stated that the doctrine must yield to express legislative action and/or prohibitions found in federal or state law. We find that such “express legislative action” and “state law prohibitions” exist here. We also find that Subsection (5) does not protect Aurora from liability under the facts of this case. As such, we answer the certified question affirmatively.
While seemingly obvious and incremental, the case adds to the growing number of cases that find that state governments have solid and presumtive reasons for protecting their residents' right to keep and bear arms.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Government of republican form has a Declared purpose - to protect and defend Life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

While I can see why some would desire "case law" to make the point, I would argue that the presumptive nature of government's purpose as Declared is absolutely unmistakable.

It is right and proper for a property owner to say "no guns", just as it would be if a property owner was to say no bibles or Korans or prayer rugs etc, and no assembly that is not approved of and permission given for.

Ok, True it is that the parking lot is private property. However, the vehicle is private property as well. So how can everyone's rights be observed, respected, defended and exercised...without imposition or infringement of others' rights?

As this decision affords - draw the line where the tires meet the parking lot.
An employer can no more decide a person cannot have a certain CD inside their vehicle, or breath mints, or papers or anything else - it is not their vehicle, not their property to make such decisions.

Question - why would a person, claiming property rights, embark on usurping the very right they claim to be exercising? It is not their car, so why do they claim the ability to decide what can be within it? Hypocrite much?

This stuff is not that hard when people stop the drama, take a deep breath, and think about it. I contend that it be a lot easier if we respected each others' rights rather than sue about every tiny little tidbit every five seconds. This has gotten to the point of absolute ridiculousness.