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Workplace violence policy OK’d by Manchester aldermen

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 01. 2013 9:51PM

MANCHESTER — The aldermen on Tuesday signed off on a “workplace violence policy” that prohibits employees from having guns at work.

Later in the evening, however, the policy was referred to the city solicitor to make sure it comports with state law.

Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo raised concerns about the legality of the provision, pointing to a section of the state firearms law, RSA 159:26.

The law states: “No ordinance or regulation of a political subdivision may regulate the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms ... in the state.”

The “workplace violence policy,” which the city’s human resources director has been working on with employee unions for several months, was set to be approved by the aldermen on consent, or without discussion, until Greazzo pulled it off the table.

“We can’t infringe on any city employee’s Second Amendment rights. We just saw what happened at the Navy Yard and in Kenya. People ran for their lives without a means to protect themselves,” he said.

Greazzo proposed that the policy be amended to refer to dangerous weapons, rather than to specify firearms. The aldermen voted to approve the policy as proposed, with the exception of Greazzo and Ward 9 Alderman Barbara Shaw.

The anti-violence policy spells out a list of prohibited conduct on the part of city employees. It includes assault, threats of violence, “bullying or other verbal and non-verbal threatening behavior.”

It also prohibits employees from possessing “a firearm during work hours on city property or while on city business unless required in the performance of their duties.”

Several towns in recent years have revised employee firearm restrictions in light of state law and in response to concerns raised by gun-rights advocates. In Salem last year, town officials repealed a personnel policy banning town employees from bringing weapons to the workplace out of concern that it violated the state law.

In 2010, Nottingham revised its workplace firearms policy for similar reasons.

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