(WSVN) - A lot of people in Florida have a permit to carry a gun. You might not know it because they are required to keep the weapon concealed. One man had his gun hidden, but then got fired from his job. It’s why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
When you get that beautiful dinner in a restaurant, you probably don’t think of the people back in the kitchen.
Luis Aldivar, fired for concealed weapon: “You got different stations in the line. You got grill. You got sauté. You got pantry.”
For years, Luis worked as a cook and loved it.
Luis Aldivar: “I did very well. For me to do it by myself for two-and-a-half years says something about my work.”
Something else his co-workers knew about Luis, he always wore his concealed weapon at work.
Luis Aldivar: “Everyone knew. All my bosses knew, and they all felt pretty safe because if something happened, there is someone there to watch over them.”
The customer never knew because the weapon was hidden, and then new owners took over.
Patrick Fraser: “And nobody told you ahead of time you cant carry a gun?”
Luis Aldivar: “No.”
Luis said when he met with the new human resource people, he agreed to an electronic form regarding the company policy, and he said he let them know he carried a weapon.
Luis Aldivar: “I told her to her face, ‘I carry a firearm. I am a licensed carrier.’ She could have told me, ‘That’s not allowed at the company.”
Luis thought it was fine. Then three days after telling the HR person, he got called in by another boss.
Luis Aldivar: “He said, ‘You carry a firearm?’ I said, ‘Yes I do. I am a licensed firearm carrier.’ ‘That’s not allowed. That’s against the rules. You are terminated.'”
Luis was stunned that he didn’t get a warning to not bring the gun to work.
Luis Aldivar: “If I was told, ‘You can’t carry it in the business,’ I would have been fine with it. No problem.”
The irony, Luis said, was they didn’t want him to have a concealed weapon in the restaurant, but as they walked him out, they took him to the kitchen to retrieve his knives.
Luis Aldivar: “Got my knives, which are weapons. 12-inch weapons.”
The knives are allowed. A concealed weapon is not.
Luis Aldivar: “I felt disrespected. I felt belittled. I go by the laws of this state and this country, and then they did this to me. It’s not right.”
Well Howard, you have a state-issued permit for a concealed weapon. Can you carry it on the job?
Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: No. You can bring it to work and leave it in your vehicle in the company parking lot, and if your boss says you can bring it into the building that’s OK. But the state legislature decided you don’t have the right to bring it into the building without your boss’ permission. One reason? If a supervisor has to discipline an employee or fire them, it’s better they not have a weapon on them.”
I spoke to the restaurant’s human resource director who said he also has a concealed weapons permit but does not bring the gun into work.
He said the company’s electronic policy which Luis agreed to clearly says you cannot carry a gun inside the building.
He said Luis did not tell them he carried a gun, and they found out when another employee called and said, “Luis had a gun in the kitchen.”
When I asked why Luis could not just put the gun in his vehicle, he said, “When Luis agreed to the company policy that prohibits guns, he lost his second chance.
Howard Finkelstein: “When you accept or agree to a company policy, whether it’s electronic or on paper, read every word. Because if you don’t know their rules and don’t follow them, they can fire you.”
Luis Aldivar: “It is what it is. Laws are laws.”
Luis said of course he will follow the law and keep his gun with him … most of the time.
Luis Aldivar: “Personal environment I am going to carry it with me wherever I go, but according to work, I can leave it in the car.”
According to the state of Florida, nearly 2 million people have been issued a concealed weapons permit, but the state does have several specific rules on where you can carry, where you can’t, who can get a permit and who can’t.
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