The Scope of Contract

God And GunsThere is an interesting case in Ohio working it’s way through the courts.  An employee was fired by UPS when he was discovered to have a dissembled firearm in his car which was parked in a public parking lot shared by both employees and non-employees.  The court has ruled that the company’s action was a violation of Ohio’s policy allowing citizens to bear arms.  (You can read more details about the case at The Volokh Conspiracy.)

All thoughts about busybody employers aside, the case has me wondering about the signing of contracts with terms that are intrusions on an individual’s rights.  I can understand laws preventing employers from punishing whistle-blowers who report criminal wrongdoing.  Such an action would be a direct attempt to subvert justice.  However, should an employer have the right to execute contracts with employees that curtail the personal rights of an employee outside of his work?  Can an employer hire on the condition that the employee not own firearms or that he submit to personal search without any evidence of wrongdoing?  I think the question comes down to a matter of mutual consent.  As odious as such requirements are, there is certainly no coercion going on, just a mutual agreement for mutual benefit. 

If a person has a right to personal sovereignty, then they must possess the right to voluntarily surrender it.  Unfortunately, while I certainly believe that a person should have the right to possess the means to protect himself against force, the judges in this case have now pulled their guns on the unarmed, namely UPS.  Ironically, the courts are now using force to protect the armed from the disarmed.