A former Wells Fargo employee has filed a lawsuit in circuit court against the bank, contending the financial institution violated her constitutional rights when they fired her for carrying a concealed firearm at work.
Florida resident Ivette Ros, a former bank manager at Wells Fargo, claims she feels “naked” without her gun and says because she had a concealed carry permit it was unlawful for her employer to terminate her for carrying, the Tampa Tribune reported.
“I am within my constitutional right,” Ros reportedly said. “The bank is one of the places that I am able to carry a weapon to. My weapon was concealed. I have a certified license.”
Last year someone noticed Ros was carrying a firearm and reported her to bank officials, according to the Tribune. She was later fired.
“I’m a manager of a bank,” she added. “We have a lot of robberies that happen in our banks. I feel safer having that weapon if I ever needed to protect my employees.”
[sharequote align=”center”]”I feel safer having that weapon if I ever needed to protect my employees.”[/sharequote]
However, while Wells Fargo wouldn’t comment on a specific ongoing case, the bank told the Tribune that they have a strict policy forbidding firearms.
“Team members are strictly prohibited from possession of firearms and weapons on company premises,” spokeswoman Kathy Harrison reportedly said.
Ros’ lawyer disagrees.
“Employers can’t discriminate against their employees nor can they discriminate against their customers if they are … law-abiding, licensed concealed weapons permit owners,” Noel Flasterstein told the Tribune.
“Just because it’s in their handbook doesn’t mean it is correct or it will withstand a legal scrutiny or a legal investigation, which is what we’re doing in this case,” he reportedly added.
Another legal expert, however, said Ros was outside her legal rights, noting that Wells Fargo is a private institution.
“There is nothing in the state statute that says the employer has to let her bring it into the building,” reportedly said Jason Bent, an assistant professor of law at Stetson University College of Law.
The bank does offer some exceptions in certain areas, though, that would allow team members to store their firearm in their vehicle while they work at the bank, the Tribune reported.
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