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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. This is the dissent discussed in the comment below. See comments on that story for an amazing discussion of likely judicial corruption of some kind, the rejection of the rule of law at the very least. http://www.theindianalawyer.com/justices-deny-transfer-to-child-custody-case/PARAMS/article/42774#comment

  2. That means much to me, thank you. My own communion, to which I came in my 30's from a protestant evangelical background, refuses to so affirm me, the Bishop's courtiers all saying, when it matters, that they defer to the state, and trust that the state would not be wrong as to me. (LIttle did I know that is the most common modernist catholic position on the state -- at least when the state acts consistent with the philosophy of the democrat party). I asked my RCC pastor to stand with me before the Examiners after they demanded that I disavow God's law on the record .... he refused, saying the Bishop would not allow it. I filed all of my file in the open in federal court so the Bishop's men could see what had been done ... they refused to look. (But the 7th Cir and federal judge Theresa Springmann gave me the honor of admission after so reading, even though ISC had denied me, rendering me a very rare bird). Such affirmation from a fellow believer as you have done here has been rare for me, and that dearth of solidarity, and the economic pain visited upon my wife and five children, have been the hardest part of the struggle. They did indeed banish me, for life, and so, in substance did the the Diocese, which treated me like a pariah, but thanks to this ezine ... and this is simply amazing to me .... because of this ezine I am not silenced. This ezine allowing us to speak to the corruption that the former chief "justice" left behind, yet embedded in his systems when he retired ... the openness to discuss that corruption (like that revealed in the recent whistleblowing dissent by courageous Justice David and fresh breath of air Chief Justice Rush,) is a great example of the First Amendment at work. I will not be silenced as long as this tree falling in the wood can be heard. The Hoosier Judiciary has deep seated problems, generational corruption, ideological corruption. Many cases demonstrate this. It must be spotlighted. The corrupted system has no hold on me now, none. I have survived their best shots. It is now my time to not be silent. To the Glory of God, and for the good of man's law. (It almost always works that way as to the true law, as I explained the bar examiners -- who refused to follow even their own statutory law and violated core organic law when banishing me for life -- actually revealing themselves to be lawless.)

  3. to answer your questions, you would still be practicing law and its very sad because we need lawyers like you to stand up for the little guy who have no voice. You probably were a threat to them and they didnt know how to handle the truth and did not want anyone to "rock the boat" so instead of allowing you to keep praticing they banished you, silenced you , the cowards that they are.

  4. His brother was a former prosecuting attorney for Crawford County, disiplined for stealing law books after his term, and embezzeling funds from family and clients. Highly functional family great morals and values...

  5. Wondering if the father was a Lodge member?

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