Disney Cast Member tests no-guns-in-workplace rule and gets suspended

Florida recently passed into law a bill that gives some firearm owners (mostly those with a concealed weapons permit) the right to carry their firearm in their car with them to work. Disney claims an exemption based on the fact that properties with fireworks are exempted, but there is some debate if that exemption would hold up in court.

One Disney employee, Edwin Sotomayor, decided to test this new law on his own. For his trouble, Edwin was put under investigation by Disney, and then suspended from his job a few hours later in the day for refusing to cooperate with said investigation. Edwin refused to let Disney inspect his car according to Edwin’s understanding of the new law; I imagine that’s the refusing to cooperate part. There is no NRA or other organization behind his decision according to this article on WFTV.

I hope Edwin has a good lawyer. Because that law is written in such a way that either side could use it for justification of their position. Disney might be stretching their claim of exemption by including parking lots and areas that aren’t directly related to fireworks. That will certainly have to be decided in the courts.

But there is another part of the law that makes it difficult for an employer to even inspect an employees car to determine if a firearm is present.

Section 4.b

No public or private employer may violate the privacy rights of a customer, employee, or invitee by verbal or written inquiry regarding the presence of a firearm inside or locked to a private motor vehicle in a parking lot or by an actual search of a private motor vehicle in a parking lot to ascertain the presence of a firearm within the vehicle. Further, no public or private employer may take any action against a customer, employee, or invitee based upon verbal or written statements of any party concerning possession of a firearm stored inside a private motor vehicle in a parking lot for lawful purposes. A search of a private motor vehicle in the parking lot of a public or private employer to ascertain the presence of a firearm within the vehicle may only be conducted by on-duty law enforcement personnel, based upon due process and must comply with constitutional protections.

A strict reading would indicate that employers no longer can inspect any employees car without calling a law officer as part of an investigation. A loose reading would mean that the employer still has the right to inspect any car as long as they aren’t looking solely for a firearm.

I think that’s where Edwin’s case will hinge.

I’m a little confused why Edwin didn’t allow the inspection, then it would be established that he did in fact have a firearm. Now his case depends on the inspection portion of the law.

Any thoughts?

See also this article on WESH.

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5 Responses to Disney Cast Member tests no-guns-in-workplace rule and gets suspended

  1. Rob Williams says:

    This guy most have had the motivation to test. I mean, how does one find out you have something concealed unless you show them? Why do that?

  2. Kurt Nelson says:

    How did they know he had a gun in the first place?

  3. Chris Wade says:

    I still maintain that stopping law abiding citizens from carrying firearms in their car (i.e. those with the proper permits) is wrong. Criminals will find a way to bring these things anyway, that being said I do not think guns should be allowed to be brought into the parks and they seem to do a pretty good job at keeping them out.

  4. Radi Grund says:

    On July 3 the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Florida legislature DID NOT intend for WDW’s exemption. The Sentinel quotes legislator Peaden:

    “I intended it to exempt places like defense plants, Air Force bases, things like that,” said Peaden, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “But not Disney. Not at all.”

    orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-disneyguns0308jul03,0,197883.story

    Until the state exempts Disney-it is they who are testing the limits of the law, not Sotomayer.

    Corporations are not allowed to make public policy and interpret the laws of Florida. This is the role and duty of the state.

    Imagine if Walmart or Burger King or Starbucks decided to interpret the laws and make public policy.

    Disney is engaging in civil disobedience; a courageous thing perhaps…but perhaps reckless too.

  5. Jensonb says:

    Radi, it doesn’t matter who they intendedto exempt, fact is a face value reading of that law does exempt Disney. I get really tired of these law writers trying to define what they mean after the phrasing’s been signed into law.

Comments are closed.