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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. Not enough copperheads here to care anymore, is my guess. Otherwise, a totally pointless gesture. ... Oh wait: was this done because somebody want to avoid bad press - or was it that some weak kneed officials cravenly fear "protest" violence by "urban youths.."

  2. Should be beat this rap, I would not recommend lion hunting in Zimbabwe to celebrate.

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  5. All these sites putting up all the crap they do making Brent Look like A Monster like he's not a good person . First off th fight actually started not because of Brent but because of one of his friends then when the fight popped off his friend ran like a coward which left Brent to fend for himself .It IS NOT a crime to defend yourself 3 of them and 1 of him . just so happened he was a better fighter. I'm Brent s wife so I know him personally and up close . He's a very caring kind loving man . He's not abusive in any way . He is a loving father and really shouldn't be where he is not for self defense . Now because of one of his stupid friends trying to show off and turning out to be nothing but a coward and leaving Brent to be jumped by 3 men not only is Brent suffering but Me his wife , his kids abd step kidshis mom and brother his family is left to live without him abd suffering in more ways then one . that man was and still is my smile ....he's the one real thing I've ever had in my life .....f@#@ You Lafayette court system . Learn to do your jobs right he maybe should have gotten that year for misdemeanor battery but that s it . not one person can stand to me and tell me if u we're in a fight facing 3 men and u just by yourself u wouldn't fight back that you wouldn't do everything u could to walk away to ur family ur kids That's what Brent is guilty of trying to defend himself against 3 men he wanted to go home tohisfamily worse then they did he just happened to be a better fighter and he got the best of th others . what would you do ? Stand there lay there and be stomped and beaten or would u give it everything u got and fight back ? I'd of done the same only I'm so smallid of probably shot or stabbed or picked up something to use as a weapon . if it was me or them I'd do everything I could to make sure I was going to live that I would make it hone to see my kids and husband . I Love You Brent Anthony Forever & Always .....Soul 1 baby

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