Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How Much Control Do Businesses Have?

There was a discussion in the comments of a recent post about businesses and what they should be able to keep off their property. A whole lot of people believe that business should be able to keep me from having a firearm locked in my vehicle. It's about safety don't you know - or at least for some.

If the goal is "keeping employees safe," as they claim, should businesses fire anyone who obtains a restraining order against an ex-spouse, or other intimate partner?

After all, if things have degenerated to the point where a court order is necessary, there must be a real danger of physical violence. If businesses are to be held liable for not protecting customers and employees, shouldn't they fire anyone who obtains a court order? After all, the object of that order (the abusive spouse or whatever) could show up at the work place intent on doing violence. It is for the safety of everyone else that these folks - mostly women - would be fired. They present a real threat to everyone else on the property. Best to get rid of that threat, isn't it?

If you claim that business can fire whoever they like, can institute whatever policy - not related to race, creed, etc. - why can't they take this action? Safety first after all.

What legal objects can businesses exclude from their property, and what lengths do they get to go to? Some have said that businesses should be able to forbid certain kinds of jewelry. Religious jewelry for example. Should they be able to search my car for a cross or a Star of David? Should I be required to strip to show I don't have the offending item under my clothes? Where do they draw the line? Where do you?

Can an employer forbid me from having campaign literature in my car. They can keep me from distributing it at work, certainly, but should they be able to search the trunk or passenger compartment to ensure that I don't have the offending documents?

What about religious literature? Any literature?

Of course I don't believe businesses have this much authority over employees. But that is me.

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