Safety and Training

Video: Fired for Your Firearm — Do You Have any Options?

Emily Taylor, an attorney at the law firm of Walker & Byington and a Texas Law Shield attorney

A recent incident, in which a Waffle House waitress was fired after defending herself against an attempted robbery, shows that even when people exercise their legal right to self-defense, they can still be terminated by their employers. According to WSBTV in Georgia, “Deputies said robbers gave a note to a waitress threatening to shoot everyone unless she gave them money.” Heather Stanley, another waitress at the Newnan, Georgia eatery, went out to her car, retrieved her handgun, and “fired one shot into the air” as the would-be robbers ran to their cars.

Emily Taylor, an attorney at the law firm of Walker & Byington and a Texas Law Shield attorney
Emily Taylor, an attorney at the law firm of Walker & Byington and a Texas Law Shield attorney
Stanley was fired by Waffle House after the incident.

Stanley told WSBTV, “I didn’t know if they had guns. I didn’t know if they were going to their vehicle to get another one and could come back and try to get to the safe, so my instinct was to go to my car and get the gun.” Stanley added, “For trying to protect their Waffle House and trying to protect their money and to get their money back, they let me go.” In Texas, employers can fire employees for similar policy violations. Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor of Walker & Byington discusses the limited options fired employees in the Lone Star State have if they violate an employer’s firearms policy: What happens if you do get fired for violating a firearms policy? Well, unfortunately, Texas is an “employment at will” state so your employer can fire you for virtually any reason, or no reason at all at any time.

So if you’re fired for violating a firearms policy, you don’t really have recourse? Firearms owners in Texas are not a protected class of persons, so you can’t come back then and sue your employer and say you were discriminated against for being a firearms owner. We reserve this protected-class status for things like race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and things of this nature.

There’s one more quirk in Texas firearms law that pertains to employers and employees, and this is having your firearm in your vehicle at work. We have a bill here in Texas that says that the general rule is employers must allow you to do this.

However, that bill doesn’t have a punishment for employers who violate this law, so at the end of the day, if you have your firearm in the car, your employer tells you that you cannot do this, and then they fire you for having your firearm in the car, unfortunately, even though, they are in violation of the statute, you have again no legal recourse because Texas is employment at will.


Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield and click here to become a member:


The just-released video above is from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, supporting a judge’s ruling that a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy last year was justified in using deadly force.
Taking the family to a state or national park this summer? Then you need to know the rules about firearms carry at your destinations, in-state or out of state. Click to watch Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington explain various park rules controlling where you can — and definitely cannot — take your gun. And please take the poll at the bottom to tell us if you take firearms with you on vacation. All poll responses are completely confidential.

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Comments (25)

  1. Anyone who does not want me to be able to defend myself can go find another employee whose life is worthless to them. No job is worth my life.

  2. The laws in all states that have employment at will or right to work needs to have some form of employee rights. Just firing someone for defending yourself or because they might not like your shoes is no reason. some thing needs to be done. If you are doing your job and not causing any problems you should have the right to keep your job until such time as you and your employer have an understanding.


    1. @ Matt.

      I think the “Analogy” is to “Kill the Pig, because the Pig saw the Fox entering the Hen House”. Doesn’t make sense to me either…

  4. Next time, let them rob the place, loot and pillage the customers while taking every penny in sight and watch them burn the place to the ground. As a consolation gift, also offer the robbers a plate of waffles to-go. Then stand there and wait for law enforcement to arrive and tell them you did not see anything. Your employer obviously does not appreciate you.

  5. My opinion of they’re going to fire her for defending herself my belief is you do not patronize or work for anyone that is not pro-gun just my opinion

  6. well i am sure this will not go over very well but here gos. i believe and practice the second amendment. i think our government has taken way to many gun right from us. they have taken to much freedom from us period. if i want to do heroin it is my business and no one else. our government is try to control the citizens and how can you call that freedom?

    with all that said, i believe in capitalism and we have drifted to far toward socialism. anyone has the right to control their property, the more we try and take that away the more freedom we have lost. so, an employer has the right to set the laws in his establishment. we have the right to free speech. we should never allow the government to take more of our freedoms.

    what we can do as has been stated is not visit those places that do not allow things we feel they should. hit them where it hurts the pocket book. second if you feel a person did the right thing as this lovely lady did and you have a business you should step up and hire her if you can. this has also be stated. while i think it is crap what happened we need to take back freedom not lose more.if she was fired she will get unemployment and hopefully someone will hire her. while i believe she acted correctly, what if a business was sued for someone getting hurt because of an action of an employee? the laws have gotten to complicated and in some instances are just ridiculous. things need to be simplified, i do not see it happening. i hope things work out for her. as for us i would not go into a business that had a no gun sign, i would not give them my money. in fact i will not go to new york, california and any other state that is anti gun. i will not give them a penny. gun folks are over 1/2 the population now, if we all follow this sort of thing i know things will change. money talks…

  7. I think we’re missing a couple of points here.

    1. She was apparently in no danger if she was able to go to her car and retrieve a weapon.
    2. She shot “INTO THE AIR” – a dangerous and illegal action.
    3. She fired her weapon “as the would-be robbers ran to their cars.” She was protecting NO ONE at that point.

    Putting aside whether she was allowed to carry on the employer’s property, these three actions show some obvious problems with the story as well as her understanding of the law and safety rules for using a weapon.

    She, and no one else. were in any danger at the time she fired her weapon.
    She violated Cooper’s rules as well as the law.

    She is lucky that she isn’t going to jail rather than just looking for a new job. No matter what crazy Uncle Joe says, shooting into the air is a stupid move.

    It’s fun to be outraged by the injustice done her, but a second look shows that there is much more going on here.

    1. I have to totally agree with Dave… He hit all the when to draw your weapon in CC 101… she violated all of them, even if her intention were good…

    2. what you say is totally correct if that is what happened. my reading skills suffer sometimes. it depends on how much sleep i have had. i still stand by the idea that any anti gun place should not get our business. everyone has to make our own decision and that is the way it should be. while i have liberal and anti gun friends, they have to put up with me. i will not give an establishment that is anti gun my money, in fact i will not travel to anti gun states if i can help it.

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