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New Florida Gun Law Places Restrictions on Employers

13 Jun

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Update Applicable to:

All Florida employers

What happened?

The Florida legislator recently enacted House Bill 543, which authorized concealed carry of weapons or firearms (with or without a license to carry). The law becomes effective on July 1, 2023.

What are the details?

The bill authorizes a person to carry a CWCF if he or she has a valid CWL, or does not have a CWL, but otherwise satisfies the criteria for receiving and maintaining a CWL, except that such person is not required to demonstrate competency with a firearm or affirmatively state he or she desires a legal means to carry a CWCF for lawful self-defense. The bill requires a CWL holder, like a person authorized to carry a CWCF without a license under the bill, to carry only a valid identification while in actual possession of a CWCF. A CWL holder must carry his or her CWL, as well as valid identification, at all times when he or she is in actual possession of a concealed weapon or concealed firearm and must display the CWL and identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer (S. 790.06(1), F.S.).

Section 790.251(4), F.S., prohibits an employer from:

  • Prohibiting an employee from possessing a legally owned firearm when such firearm is lawfully possessed and locked inside or locked to a private motor vehicle in a parking lot when the employee is lawfully in such parking lot;
  • Making a verbal or written inquiry to an employee 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;
  • Conditioning employment upon the fact an employee or prospective employee holds or does not hold a CWL, or an agreement by an employee or a prospective employee that prohibits the employee from keeping a legal firearm locked inside or locked to a private motor vehicle in a parking lot when such firearm is kept for lawful purposes;
  • Prohibiting or attempting to prevent any employee from entering the parking lot of the employer’s place of business because the employee’s private motor vehicle contains a legal firearm being carried for lawful purposes, which is out of sight within the employee’s private motor vehicle; or
  • Terminating the employment of, or otherwise discriminating against, an employee 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.

The restrictions in s. 790.251(4), F.S., do not apply to:

  • Property owned or leased by a public or private employer or the landlord of a public or private employer upon which the primary business conducted is the manufacture, use, storage, or transportation of combustible or explosive materials regulated under state or federal law, or property owned or leased by an employer who has obtained a permit required under 18 U.S.C. § 842 to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in explosive materials on such property;
  • A motor vehicle owned, leased, or rented by a public or private employer or the landlord of a public or private employer;
  • Any other property owned or leased by a public or private employer or the landlord of a public or private employer upon which possession of a firearm or other legal product by a customer, employee, or invitee is prohibited pursuant to any federal law, contract with a federal government entity, or general law of this state.

Effect of the Bill:  The bill amends s. 790.251, F.S., to expand the definition of “employee” to include any person who is authorized to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm under the bill, regardless of whether such person has a CWL. Thus, the protections afforded an employee in s. 790.251, F.S., will apply equally to a CWL holder and a person who is authorized to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm without a CWL. Thus, an employer would be prohibited from barring an employee from carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle or taking specified employment actions if such employer employed at least one person who is authorized under the bill to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm.

For more information, please see the links below:

News Story Summary

Bill: HB 543

Bill Page: Link

Law Firm Article: Link

What do employers need to do?

Employers in Florida should be cautious when drafting their handbook and workplace violence policies to ensure that they do not violate this law, specifically when drafting language about weapons on employer property. Employers who currently have policies on workplace violence that contain prohibitions of firearms on company property should revise their policies to include a carve out that either excludes the employer’s parking lot or explicitly states that employees are permitted to keep firearms in their privately owned car in the employer’s parking lot. 

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Florida Reigns in COVID-19 Prohibitions

Update Applicable to:

All Florida employers

What happened?

Pursuant to a legislative proposal announced in January to make COVID-19 freedoms permanent, the effective date of applicable law (Bill CS/SB 252) is coming up on June 1, 2023.

What are the details?

CS/SB 252 amends several statutes in order to prohibit mask mandates; mandates on emergency use authorizations (EUA) vaccinations, messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccinations, and COVID-19 vaccinations; and COVID-19 testing mandates in educational institutions, business entities, and governmental entities. The bill prohibits these entities and institutions from requiring proof of a vaccination with one of the specified types of vaccinations, post-infection recovery from COVID-19, or a COVID-19 test to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the entity or institution. The bill also prohibits business and governmental entities from certain employment practices based on an employee’s, or a potential employee’s, vaccination or post-infection status or the refusal to take a COVID-19 test.

Additionally, the bill prohibits business entities, governmental entities, and educational institutions from requiring a person to wear a mask, a face shield, or any other facial covering that covers the nose and mouth or denying a person access to, entry upon, service from, or admission to such entity or institution or otherwise discriminating against any person based on his or her refusal to wear a mask, face shield, or other facial covering.

Business entities and governmental entities that violate these provisions are subject to discipline by the Department of Legal Affairs (DLA) while educational institutions are subject to discipline by the Department of Health (DOH). Such discipline may include fines of up to $5,000 for each violation.

In summary, beginning June 1, 2023, employers in Florida are prohibited from doing any of the following:

  • Basing any employment decision on documentation of vaccination if the vaccination is for COVID-19 or uses mRNA technology
  • Basing any employment decision on the knowledge or a belief about a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status or their receipt of any mRNA vaccine, or their COVID-19 post-infection recovery status
  • Requiring COVID-19 testing
  • Basing any employment decision on a person’s failure to take a COVID-19 test
  • Requiring employees to wear face coverings that cover their mouth and nose, with exceptions for healthcare providers and when face coverings are a standard occupational safety measure.

For more information, please see the links below:

Governor Announcement: Link

Proposal: Link

Bill: CS/SB 252

Bill Page: Link

What do employers need to do?

Employers will need to review the above prohibitions and the links provided and update their COVID-19 policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the new law.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's Florida PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.


This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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