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Mishawaka man sues Walgreens over alleged violation of 'guns in workplace' laws

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A former Walgreens store employee plans to file a lawsuit Thursday in St. Joseph County alleging the company fired him for lawfully carrying his gun into another Walgreens location where his wife worked.

Jonathon C. Hartzell and his wife worked at separate Walgreens locations in Mishawaka when he visited her on Sept. 27 on his day off. Hartzell has a valid license to carry a handgun and had a gun on him when he went into his wife’s store. A Walgreens employee asked him to leave because he was not allowed to have the gun inside the store per Walgreen rules.

Hartzell told company representatives that Walgreens’ policy violates Indiana’s “guns in the workplace” statutes. He was placed on temporary suspension on Oct. 2 and fired Oct. 8.

Attorney Guy Relford filed the suit on behalf of Hartzell and claims the company violated Indiana Code 34-28-8-6, which prohibits most employers from creating a policy that requires employees to disclose whether they possess, use, own or transport firearms – and 34-28-7-2, which prohibits most employers from creating a policy preventing employees from having a gun locked in an employee’s car and out of plain sight.

The laws were passed in 2011 and 2010 respectively.

“Plaintiff’s lawful possession of a firearm on September 27, 2012 was the sole basis for the termination of his employment,” the suit says. “Therefore, Walgreen conditioned Plaintiff’s employment on his agreement to ‘forgo his lawful possession of a firearm’ in direct contravention of Ind. Code 34-28-8-6.”

Relford also argues Walgreens’ “policy against workplace violence” is overly broad and in violation of 34-28-7-2 because it forbids guns anywhere on company property, even if it is stored in an employee’s locked car and out of plain sight.

Hartzell seeks actual damages, punitive damages, attorney fees, court costs and an injunction ordering Walgreens to amend its policy against workplace violence to comply with the Indiana statutes at issue.

This is the second lawsuit Relford has filed challenging company policies that allegedly violate the “guns in the workplace” statutes. A suit filed in September in Morgan County against a security company claims ADM Enforcement Inc. required armed security guard Thomas Jordan to disclose whether he had any guns that weren’t approved by the company. The suit also alleges the company adopted a policy prior to Sept. 1, 2012, that prohibited any ADM employee from possessing a gun not approved by the company, including those locked in an employee’s vehicle and stored out of plain sight.
Relford said discovery is just beginning in the Morgan County case, Thomas Jordan v. ADM Enforcement Inc., 5502-1209-PL-1981.

 

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  • comment
    It wasn't his workplace he brought the gun into, it was his wife's. He knows what he did was wrong.lol it eludes me why he felt he needed to carry the weapon into the store with him when visiting his wife. if i were an employee i'd suspect that he wanted to harm someone. get the bull out of the china shop and all. from my experience, if a store is in a high crime area, Walgreens hires a security guard for the store anyway.

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  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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