Wells Fargo sued by employee fired for concealed carrying at work

posted at 6:31 pm on February 23, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Another interesting Second Amendment case is coming up before the courts, and yes… it’s from Florida again. Wells Fargo is facing a legal challenge from one of their bank managers who was fired for coming to work while carrying her weapon concealed.

Ivette Ros grew up in a house where her father kept guns. For her, it was a natural step to get a concealed weapons permit and then to carry a 9 mm handgun.

The 37-year-old Tampa resident is a single mother of three children and said she carries the gun for safety.

“It’s just something about having it versus not having it,” she said. “I feel naked when I don’t have my gun.”

Her employer didn’t feel the same way. Carrying the gun got her fired, she said.

Ros has filed a lawsuit in circuit court against Wells Fargo Bank, which she said fired her last year from her job as manager at the bank’s Oldsmar branch. Her lawsuit says the firing violated her constitutional right to carry arms and asks for monetary damages and attorney fees.

“I’m a manager of a bank,” Ros said. “We have a lot of robberies that happen in our banks. I feel safer having that weapon if I ever needed to protect my employees.”

I love a good Stand Up For Your Second Amendment Rights story as much or more than the next guy, but this one looks complicated. There are several elements to consider up front. Ms. Ros is a legal holder of a concealed carry permit. She also works in a profession which certainly invites the possibility of violent attacks on the job. (She works in a bank… they get robbed sometimes.) She sometimes carried her weapon to her job but left it locked in her car. Other times she would keep it in her purse during the workday. It was in the latter case when somebody noticed that she had her handgun with her, reported her, and the company subsequently fired her.

These things vary from state to state, and perhaps it’s just because I’ve spent so much time in the anti-gun climate of New York, but I don’t know if the employer has as much of a losing case as Ros’s attorney seems to think. While she will seek to present this as a Second Amendment case, I can see the defense arguing that the employer has the right to set rules for workplace activities. Companies can fire workers for transgressions as minor as violating dress code by wearing jeans instead of slacks. They can forbid the carrying of cameras, laptops or recording devices in the workplace. They can seemingly violate your 1st amendment rights by forbidding talking about non-work related subjects during working hours.

Further, the argument about her job at a bank being particularly subject to armed attack may not carry enough weight either. The bank may simply say that they employ armed guards to protect the workers, clients and assets, and it is their prerogative as to who will do the armed protecting. I’m not sure how sympathetic they will be in this case.

Of course, one of the best arguments in terms of hoping that Ms. Ros prevails is that it just drives the gun grabbers insane.

Florida has more than its share of gun rights cases going on in addition to this one, so it may be the starting point for additional clarity from the courts on a number of related subjects. And some of them are sure to drive the Left equally crazy. Just take the case of the blind man who had his guns returned to him after shooting an intruder. Cue the heads exploding in five… four… three… two…


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Good day

Schadenfreude on February 24, 2014 at 1:53 PM

dentarthurdent on February 24, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Understand completely. The immediate neighborhood around my workplace is OK, but within a couple blocks around it are very iffy. I work second shift, so I leave near midnight.

I used to drive through those iffy blocks to avoid the traffic on the regular route until one evening. I and another driver were stopped at a light under a railroad bridge and we saw a woman walking in the middle our lane. She knocked on the driver’s side window of the other car, didn’t get a response, then she came to my car and did the same thing. She asked/mumbled something about her car running out of gas somewhere. I shrugged, said I was sorry that I couldn’t help her and pointed over my left shoulder to the gas station further up on the corner. Of course I kept my windows up and the minute the light turned green, I floored the gas.

That was the first time something like that ever happened, but now I don’t drive through there any more.

PatriotGal2257 on February 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Good day

Schadenfreude on February 24, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Meh.
I don’t see why SCOTUS should weigh in on state laws regarding age limits – no different from states setting their own age limits regarding alcohol, tobacco or driving.
The third is an interesting case though.

dentarthurdent on February 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

My employer has the same policy but our managing shareholder didn’t want to make a big issue out of carrying at the office. Then we had a temp in the office who went crazy and started stalking us. I was told if I ever stopped carrying at work he’d fire me. Funny how things change a liberal’s mind

And as others have said, the Florida CC laws do not allow you to carry in locations where it is forbidden. Her employer has the right to restrict it. As someone earlier said, the Second Amendment protects you from the Government, not private citizens.

USNCVN on February 24, 2014 at 2:08 PM

I would imagine this won’t fly – if it was in her vehicle, I could see WF having some difficulty, but they can restrict what comes in their stores.

Zomcon JEM on February 24, 2014 at 2:14 PM

If the company’s policies and procedures forbid the carrying of weapons while at work, then she needs to find work where her employers allow employees to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights on the company’s private property. The employer has rights too…

ThePainfulTruth on February 24, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Every bank and almost every institution that takes money has a policy of surrendering the money, do not risk your life defending money.

No life is worth risking for a few bucks.

Banks, in a more practical sense, would be sued up the yingyang if they any way encouraged an employee to fire a weapon. If that employee was killed, or if they killed someone no involved in the crime, the cost would far out weigh anything the thieves would be able to take from a bank.

right2bright on February 24, 2014 at 2:51 PM

dentarthurdent on February 24, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Yes, there has never been a random shooting on a U.S. military facility anywhere in the world – Fort Hood never happened.

Another Drew on February 24, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Actually, under Florida law it is illegal to fire an employee for carrying a firearm to work:

“No public or private employer may terminate the employment of or otherwise discriminate against an employee, or expel a customer or invitee for exercising his or her constitutional right to keep and bear arms or for exercising the right of self-defense as long as a firearm is never exhibited on company property for any reason other than lawful defensive purposes.”

Florida Statutes section 790.251(4)(e)

maddog18 on February 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM

That would certainly override whatever policy is set by Wells Fargo.

Property rights are extensive, as they should be, but they are not necessarily absolute.

Nor should they be. People’s rights don’t end because they are on someone else’s property.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 24, 2014 at 3:11 PM

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 24, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Looks like WF not only violated the Constitution, but FL state law to boot. I’m predicting a costly settlement for this twofer.

whatcat on February 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Yes, there has never been a random shooting on a U.S. military facility anywhere in the world – Fort Hood never happened.

Another Drew on February 24, 2014 at 3:09 PM

I know what you’re saying – but that’s not what I’m saying.
I make a point regularly here in HA about what a farce it is that military bases are in fact “gun free zones”.

My point about where I work was just about the particular area where I’m located, I’m not too concerned in my office – multiple badge swipes at multiple limited access doors with armed guards along the way. But we did have an incident about a year or 2 ago in a facility on base but outside the restricted area – an off-duty security cop came back on base with a personal weapon and shot up the mobility /mail processing building – luckily didn’t hurt anyone during the stand-off and he eventually gave up – just didn’t want to deploy….

dentarthurdent on February 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM

I recall, during my Texas CHL qualification shooting, an instructor telling us that a blind man had scored well enough on range for his CHL.

mackbymack on February 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM

1. Didn’t Wells Fargo cease to hold it’s private property rights when it took TARP funds?

2. Since Wells Fargo accepts the Matricula Consular as a valid form of identification in violation of Federal Law, why do they demand that their employees follow their policies when Wells Fargo doesn’t even follow the law?

rbendana on February 24, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Florida Statutes section 790.251(4)(e)

maddog18 on February 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM

You may want to reread that statute, which by the way is titled “Protection of the right to keep and bear arms in motor vehicles…” That statute makes it absolutely clear the right to carry does not come into the workplace. Subsections (a) through (d) speak to having the gun in the vehicle, not inside the place of employment. Further, subsection (e) states “[n]o public or private employer may terminate an employee…as long as a firearm is never exhibited on company property for any reason other than law defensive purposes.”

I like this young lady’s story, but she fails this test, 10 times out of 10.

USNCVN on February 24, 2014 at 6:26 PM

dentarthurdent on February 24, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Two words: Fort Hood

flytier on February 24, 2014 at 8:01 PM

Private employers have a right to control their premise and require their employees to conform to company policy.

Unless there is more to the story, in spite of the above, I would have thought a good course of action would be that the bank counsel her that her actions were against company policy and as an employee she needed to abide by that policy. The company could then reiterate that, one more time, that the Second Amendment does not invalidate company policy and any employee who deliberately brings a weapon onto company property is subject to summary dismissal. (and we really mean it).

Suspend her without pay for a week or two and/or some other sanction, such as attending a liability class to teach why her personal use of a firearm on company premise would be a bad idea, to make a point then let it go. Then she can be considered warned — do that again, even inadvertently, and she’s gone.

Russ808 on February 24, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Private employers have a right to control their premise and require their employees to conform to company policy.

sorry, i keep hearing that rights arent absolute.

also, In United States v. Cruikshank (1875), the Supreme Court ruled that “[t]he right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government.”[75] In United States v. Miller (1939), the Court ruled that the amendment “[protects arms that had a] reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”.[76]

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment “codified a pre-existing right”

we dont get the right to bear arms from the constitution. which means that you cant say the constitution only says what the government cant do, therefore the right to bear arms can be infringed by private parties. the right to bear arms is a right without the constitution.

Lifeisdeath on February 24, 2014 at 11:38 PM

Lifeisdeath on February 24, 2014 at 11:38 PM

I think you are missing the point and misunderstanding some case law, the most basic of which is the Bill of Rights are protections of the Citizen from their Government. It does NOT protect Citizens from Citizens. A great example is the 4th Amendment prohibition against unlawful search and seizure. An employer can, and routinely does, search employees on the way into and coming out of work. Go to any mall and see how many people who work in department stores have to carry clear purses to work to ensure they aren’t stealing from the employer. The employer has the right to search you if they think something is amiss, or even to do a search of all employees on their property. The Government, on the other hand, cannot. The 2nd Amendment is the exact same issue. An employer can tell you not to bring a gun to work and you don’t bring a gun to work…simple. In Florida, you are protected and can leave it in your car with no fear of reprisal, which was the statute quoted incorrectly earlier. But you cannot bring it into work if your employer says you can’t.

And your argument that it’s an infringement on a gun-owner’s right doesn’t fly either, as the private citizen asking you to keep the gun out of their place of business has the same right to property, to keep and enjoy it without undue interferrence, as the gun-owner does to carry their gun.

USNCVN on February 25, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Does the employer have a right to do body cavity searches? Their property and all.

Second, if you need a permit from the government it isn’t a right. Try building something on your own property without the governments permission. Seems this absolute right to private property just isn’t so.

Can I choose not to bake a cake for a gay couple on my property?

If you come on my property can I keep you as a slave? My rules and all, apparently they trump the right to bear arms, do they trump your right to not live as a slave? Do you lose your rights as a free man on my property?

Lifeisdeath on February 25, 2014 at 3:53 PM

And <blockquote The employer has the right to search you if they think something is amiss, or even to do a search of all employees on their property. The Government, on the other hand, cannot.

Haven’t been to a school lately, have you? They search students all of the time. TSA? Courthouses? Military bases? The government searches people all of the time, what the hell are you talking about?

<blockquote I think you are missing the point and misunderstanding some case law, the most basic of which is the Bill of Rights are protections of the Citizen from their Government. It does NOT protect Citizens from Citizens

As was stated the RTKABA predates the bill of rights.

Lifeisdeath on February 25, 2014 at 4:47 PM

I have to agree that this looks like a case of the companies right to control its premisis vs the employees right to carry. ANd I would side with the company.

Of course, I keep hoping someone will argue that the Left is correct and that Guns are a religion in this country. Then you would have a case that the company was discriminating based on religion which there are explicit laws prohibiting.

I should be able to prohibit guests from coming on to my property with weapons if I want to. Of course, I should also then bear full responsibility for their safety from attack. I think the law already makes the bank responsible this way. If not, I think the next weaponless employee will have a good case to recover a lot of pain and suffering bucks.

OBQuiet on February 25, 2014 at 7:32 PM

ARGH ‘Company’s’ not ‘companies’ !!! My wife would shot me if she had a gun.

OBQuiet on February 25, 2014 at 7:33 PM

I must have missed that part of the Constitution about jeans, cameras, laptops and recording devices.

CTimbo on February 25, 2014 at 8:43 PM

This suit isn’t as preposterous as it sounds. The first thing that comes to mind that employers can set whatever rules they want a bout guns. Well not so fast.

Florida has already overridden “Employer Rights” by passing a law that allowed concealed carry licenses to store them in their locked vehicles. Previously, employers could fire employees who did bring their gun and leave them in their cars. So, Florida could do the same with respect to CCW holders in the workplace.

Her claim is one of equity. If valid concealed carry license holders could carry into the bank, why can’t an employee.

If she prevails, then convenience store, pizza delivery guys, won’t have to choose between having to face an armed robber with their bare hands or losing their job if they have to use their legal concealed carry gun. 28% of the victims of workplace homicides are these people. They deserve a fighting chance. And not to be fired if they defend themselves if robbed. Current policy of convenience store chains, gas stations, and pizza delivery drives is “no guns allowed.” This suit could change that.

The intent is to allow lawful conceaked carry license holder to carry in the workplace. ONLY holders of a CCW permit. Companies could still prohibit NON-CCW holders from bringing their guns to work.

Her attorney is a noted gun rights attorney. She has just might prevail.

georgej on February 25, 2014 at 8:44 PM

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