Georgia law provides that no employer may search locked, privately owned vehicles in its parking lots. In addition, employers may not bar employees who possess a Georgia firearms license from bringing a legally owned firearm into a parking lot in a privately owned vehicle when the firearm is locked, out of sight, in a trunk, glove box, or other compartment (GA Stat. Sec. 16-11-135).
Secured parking lot exception.Employers may continue to conduct searches to ban concealed weapons from vehicles if they provide a secure parking lot that restricts public access through the use of a security gate, security station, and/or security officers. The policy allowing searches must apply to all vehicles and be used on a uniform and frequent basis. Permitted Searches
The ban on searches does not apply to:
- Searches by law enforcement officers with valid search warrants, searches based on probable cause under exigent circumstances, and searches consented to by employees based on probable cause that employee unlawfully possesses company property
- Searches of locked vehicles to prevent a reasonable and immediate threat to human life, safety, and health
The ban on vehicle searches and restrictions on having concealed weapons in vehicles does not create new duties for employers or property owners, such as providing increased security, changing the right of employers or property owners to control access to its property, or changing employees' at-will status. Employers are also under no obligation to make improvements to parking lots.
Employer liability. Employers and property owners may not be held liable in civil or criminal actions for:
- Theft of a firearm from an employee's vehicle
- Damages ...