Thursday, December 20, 2007

Whose RIghts?

It's not discussed much in the media, but it's fast becoming a heated battle across the nation. This past year there were quite a few states that tried to pass some law or other relating to weapons in the workplace. Oklahoma was host to the biggest showdown that gave the first round to individuals, but ended with a ruling for employer rights.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) anticipates a major push in 2008 for more states to join in the debate and has issued the following statement:
“SHRM believes, and the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act requires, that employers provide safe workplaces for their employees, including safeguards from threats or acts of violence. Further, SHRM believes that a secure workplace, free from threats of violence, not only protects the physical, mental and emotional health of employees, but also positively affects productivity, morale, absenteeism, turnover, and employee and customer satisfaction.

“SHRM supports employers’ freedom to decide how best to create a secure and safe workplace. The Society opposes any legislative, regulatory or policy attempts that restrict employers from safeguarding their employees.”

Their position should come as no surprise considering they signed on as a friend-of-the-court supporting employers in the Oklahoma case. But it's a tough issue that strikes at the heart of two sacrosanct positions: personal property rights and individual 2nd Amendment rights.

So far, in an interesting mix of red and blue, Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky and Minnesota have supported individual rights and preventing employers from banning weapons in the workplace. Amazingly, this hasn't even emerged as a question in the debates the past few months. But maybe the presidential primary debates haven't yet hit the right state.

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