A landscaping employee recently fired by an upscale Indiana private community has filed a lawsuit, claiming he was fired from his job of 21-years after being asked if he owned a firearm.
Nino Ferlaino, the plaintiff in the suit, filed in Lake Circuit Court Monday, arguing that he was terminated the same day his supervisor at Lakes of the Four Seasons asked if he owned a gun.
According to the Northwest Indiana Times, Ferlaino had shared with co-workers that he was a gun owner in conversation during work hours. Two days later, his supervisor came to him and pointedly asked if it was true. The supervisor, Doug Weiss, then explained to Ferlaino that his conversation violated the community’s “no tolerance policy” and terminated him on guidance from the community board.
This led Ferlaino through his attorney to file suit asking for an injunction against Lakes of the Four Seasons continuing the practice of asking employees about firearms ownership, as well as punitive damages, citing recent changes in state law.
In 2010, Indiana implemented the so-called “Take Your Gun to Work Law,” which prohibits adopting or enforcing a policy that prohibits an employee or contractor from having a firearm secured in their vehicle out of plain sight. Although Ferlaino stated that he did not bring his gun to work, the same law prohibits employers from asking questions about gun ownership.
“The law in question is relatively new and many employers may not know what rights it affords their employees,” Ferlaino’s attorney, Marissa McDermott said.
New law or not, Ferlaino’s case is not the first time it has been tested in the courts.
In 2012, the former employee of a security company sued after he was fired for not answering questions over whether or not he had a firearm in his vehicle. This suit was augmented by that of a Walgreens employee and lawful concealed carry permit holder who was fired for carrying his gun on his off day in a store other than the one he worked in.
According to the company’s website, Lakes of the Four Seasons is a private, gated community of about 7,300 residents. Data indexed by the U.S. Census cites that the median income for a family in the area was $68,903, about 45 percent higher than the Indiana state average.
Lakes of the Four Seasons did not reply to emails for statement from Guns.com