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So Successful, Yet So Blind
Fortune 150 Company Has Zero Tolerance for Self Defense

by James R. Hall
2nd Vice President, Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed
bagamesh@bellsouth.net

 

KeepAndBearArms.com -- It seems that LEAR Corporation, based in Southfield, MI, has no regard for the law that the good citizens of these United States have fought for. The first item below is a policy memo that was apparently distributed to each of their locations worldwide. I acquired it from an employee at their Louisville, KY facility who was wondering if they could enforce it here. As you can see from my letter to the author (after the memo), they CAN'T.

Take note of the language in paragraph two of the policy -- that was what prompted my response and the campaign I am now waging to generate feedback from every state in which they have a facility. This man's obvious disregard for the rights of LEAR employees lit a fire under me. If you want a near exact copy of the memo, write back and I can send it in MS Word. I took the address of LEAR Corporation World Headquarters from this page: http://www.lear.com/html/c_contact.htm. Or go to their home page here: http://www.lear.com/html/lear_corporation.htm. I went to the UAW website http://www.uaw.org for the addresses of the local region directors. Please Cc the local union officials if you decide to correspond to Lear -- it can't hurt to let them know we are on their side when it comes to the rights of their members.

If you have any contacts in other states that have Lear facilities, I would appreciate you passing this information along. I have provided a list of the various states at the very bottom of this message for your convenience, and the Lear website lists the location of every facility worldwide.

James R. Hall
Director, Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed

Freedom is like good health; without exercise it fades.


The LEAR "Zero Tolerance for Self Defense" Policy

September 19, 2001

TO: All HR Managers

HR Council

FROM: Roger Jackson

SUBJECT: WORKPLACE VIOLENCE AND WEAPONS POLICY

On July l, 2001, a new statute was passed, (refer to MCL 28.421, ett seq), making it easier to obtain concealed weapons permits in the state of Michigan. The statute contains language directly relevant to the workplace and employers. As such, employers may prohibit employees and visitors to the workplace from carrying concealed weapons in the course of employment. However, employers cannot prohibit employees from applying for or obtaining a concealed weapons license, or from carrying a concealed weapon if done in accordance with the statute.

Notwithstanding any state and federal mandates in Michigan or the state in which your facility is located, Lear Corporation, including all subsidiary joint venture operations world-wide, adopts a zero tolerance for weapons and violence in the workplace.

A weapon is defined as, but not limited to, any the following: a firearm, including a BB gun, whether loaded or unloaded; any knife, including a switchblade or other knife having an automatic spring release device; any police type baton or night stick; or any martial arts weapon or electronic defense weapon. In addition, a dangerous instrument is defined as any instrument, article or substance that under the circumstances is capable of causing harm or injury.

Threats are defined as any threatening behavior, acts of violence or any related conduct which disrupts another's work performance or the organization's business purpose.

The Lear workplace is not limited to site or location. Employees are prohibited from carrying weapons and acts of violence in the course of business, on and off company property, including business travel and entertainment, recreation, education and training. Additionally, lockers, parking lots and vehicles on premises and for business use are also included.

Employees are responsible for immediately notifying the local Human Resources representative or their supervisor of any threats which they witnessed or knowledge of weapons. The local Human Resources department will conduct investigations with the assistance of local law enforcement as appropriate. Employees may be suspended without pay until investigations are complete.

Violation of this policy will lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, arrest and prosecution.


Letter to LEAR

October 5, 2001

Roger Jackson
Lear Corporation World Headquarters
21557 Telegraph Road
P.O. Box 5008
Southfield, MI 48086

Mr. Jackson:

As a Director of Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed, I have frequently been asked to provide answers to questions regarding firearms possession and concealed carry of deadly weapons in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A number of corporate policies and employee restrictions that were based on ignorance or misunderstanding have been brought to my attention. Recently I was made aware of your memo, WORKPLACE VIOLENCE AND WEAPONS POLICY, dated September 19, 2001, and felt it was necessary to respond. Contained in the memo is the statement "Notwithstanding any state and federal mandates in Michigan or the state in which your facility is located, Lear Corporation, including all subsidiary joint venture operations world-wide, adopts a zero tolerance for weapons and violence in the workplace." To be very frank, I find it rather disturbing that your corporation chooses to exhibit such a blatant disregard for the law and the rights of their employees. Nevertheless, I believe there are certain facts that you should be aware of as a corporation operating facilities in Kentucky.

Your policy stipulates that "Employees are prohibited from carrying weapons... [in] vehicles on premises and for business use" and that "Violation of this policy will lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, arrest and prosecution." The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky provides a "Bill of Rights" which proclaims "That the great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, we declare that:

All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned:

First: The right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties.

Third: The right of seeking and pursuing their safety and happiness.

Seventh: The right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the State, subject to the power of the General Assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons."

Kentucky’s General Assembly has provided legislation that supports the freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution. Kentucky Revised Statute 237.110 (14) deals specifically with the subject of private vehicles as it applies to those licensed to carry concealed deadly weapons in Kentucky. "A private but not a public employer may prohibit employees or other persons holding a concealed deadly weapons license from carrying concealed deadly weapons in vehicles owned by the employer, but may not prohibit employees or other persons holding a concealed deadly weapons license from carrying concealed deadly weapons in vehicles owned by the employee" and "Possession of weapons in a vehicle on the premises shall not be a criminal offense so long as the weapons are not removed from the vehicle or brandished while the vehicle is on the premises." The statute does clearly state that you may subject an employee to disciplinary measures for possession of a weapon on your premises other than in the employee’s vehicle. I have included for your convenience the entire statute, and for reference, an Opinion of the Attorney General of Kentucky that clarifies seemingly conflicting language in the statute.

Restricting employees from keeping a firearm locked in their car while on the job would force them to travel to and from work without the benefit of a defensive tool. Second shift employees could find themselves stranded on a lonely road, late at night, subject to the will of opportunistic violent predators. Thankfully, Kentucky’s founders and recent lawmakers understood that situations such as this are inevitable and provided protection for it’s citizens against policies such as yours.

Desiring a workplace free of violence is a sublime concept that is not lost on those of us that believe in one’s right to self defense. Your "zero tolerance" of violence however, is rather broad in the possibilities of it’s implementation. Since you make no distinctions regarding self-defense in the prohibition of "acts of violence", I must wonder whether an employee could be disciplined merely for protecting his well being. Fighting back against an attacker does fall into the category of violence, does it not? You also left the field wide open with "a dangerous instrument is defined as any instrument, article or substance that under the circumstances is capable of causing harm or injury". That would include shoelaces, belts, buckles, keys, coins, combs and just about any tool or office item in your facilities. To enforce such a restriction would be to expect all of your employees to report naked to an empty building. You should count your blessings that you neglected to include "dangerous instrument[s]" in your workplace restrictions. (The inclusion of that particular definition was rather puzzling!)

I can also understand your concerns about the safety issues surrounding firearms, at least with respect to production facilities. Jewelry, unrestrained hair, loose clothing or any object that can get caught on machinery, tooling or fixtures can create a dangerous situation for individual employees. However, such circumstances are not present in an office environment but your policy makes no distinction, it apparently is to be applied everywhere. Certainly you are aware of a number of recent workplace and school attacks. In almost every instance the perpetrator has done one of three things when "friendly" firearms arrived on the scene, 1) he surrendered, 2) he was taken down by the friendly or 3) he commits suicide. In rare instances the perpetrator evaded the confrontation, left the scene and resumed his killing somewhere else. The number of casualties in each attack has been directly proportionate to the length of time it took an armed good guy to show up.

A policy such as yours will only disarm the potential victims of violent criminal acts. An individual that, for whatever reason, has decided to enter your facility intent on murder will have no regard for your threat of "disciplinary action", he has in fact already ignored the possibility of capital punishment. I wonder, in lieu of the ability to provide for their own safety, what degree of security and well being can Lear Corporation promise to it’s employees? Can Lear guarantee that no one will be able to enter it’s facilities in possession of weapons? Can Lear declare with certainty that access to it’s facilities is entirely limited to lawful and non-violent persons?

Is Lear Corporation willing to accept responsibility for lives lost in the event of a workplace slaying?

Sincerely,

James R. Hall
Director, Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed
[Mr. Hall became 2nd V.P. of KC3 on Nov. 3, 2001.]

Enc: 2 cc:

Kenneth L. Way,
Chief Executive Officer, Lear Corporation

Terry Thurman, Director, UAW Region 3
Director, UAW Sub-Regional Louisville office


ABOUT LEAR

Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Southfield, Mich., (USA), focuses on automotive interiors and electronics and is the world's fifth-largest automotive supplier. Sales in 2000 were $14.1 billion. The company's world-class products are designed, engineered and manufactured by approximately 120,000 employees at more than 300 facilities located in 33 countries." And has been around since 1917.

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR LEAR

Investor Relations & Business Planning

Investor@Lear.com

Corporate Communications

Andrea Puchalsky - Director of Corporate Communications
(248) 447-1651, (248) 447-1722 fax
E-mail: apuchalsky@lear.com

Key Management

Kenneth L. Way - Chairman
Robert E. Rossiter - President and Chief Executive Officer
James H. Vandenberghe - Vice Chairman
Donald J. Stebbins - Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Douglas G. DelGrosso - Executive Vice President

Lear Corporation Headquarters

21557 Telegraph Road
P.O. Box 5008
Southfield, MI 48086-5008
phone: (800) 413-5327
phone: (248) 447-1500
fax: (248) 447-1722
fax: (248) 447-5615

United States Locations

Allen Park, Michigan
Alma, Michigan
Arlington, Texas
Atlanta, Georgia
Auburn Hills, Michigan
Bay Valley, Michigan
Berne, Indiana
Bourbon, Indiana
Bowling Green, Ohio
Bridgeton, Missouri
Brownsville, Texas
Byron Center, Michigan
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Columbus, Mississippi
Covington, Virginia
Dayton, Tennessee
Dearborn, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Duncan, South Carolina
Edinburgh, Indiana
El Paso, Texas
Elsie, Michigan
Fenton, Michigan
Frankfort, Indiana
Fremont, Ohio
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Greencastle, Indiana
Hammond, Indiana
Holland, Michigan
Huntington, Indiana
Huron, Ohio
Iowa City, Iowa
Janesville, Wisconsin
Kansas City, Missouri
Lebanon, Ohio
Lebanon, Virginia
Lewiston, Pennsylvania
Livonia, Michigan
Lordstown, Ohio
Louisville, Kentucky
Madisonville, Kentucky
Manteca, California
Marlette, Michigan
Marshall, Michigan
Melvindale, Michigan
Mendon, Michigan
Midland, Texas
Morristown, Tennessee
New Castle, Delaware
Newark, Delaware
Peru, Indiana
Perrysburg, Ohio
Plymouth, Michigan
Pontiac, Michigan
Port Huron, Michigan
Rochester Hills, Michigan
Romulus, Michigan
Roscommon, Michigan
St. Louis, Missouri
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Sheridan, Ohio
Sidney, Ohio
Southfield, Michigan
Strasburg, Virginia
Tampa, Florida
Traverse City, Michigan
Taylor, Michigan
Troy, Michigan
Walker, Michigan
Warren, Michigan
Wauseon, Ohio
Wentzville, Missouri
Winchester, Virginia
Zanesville, Ohio

 

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