Donquaz Stevenson (courtesy foxnews.com)

“A Papa John’s Pizza employee was making a delivery in Decatur, Georgia, Sunday night when a man approached her vehicle, forcing her onto the ground at gunpoint,” foxnews.com reports. “The woman, who had a gun in her pocket, was able to fire at the man while on the ground — striking the alleged assailant, identified as 24-year-old Donquaz Stevenson [above], in the face. Stevenson was later found in a neighbor’s yard and arrested, according to police, who said the pizza delivery might have been a setup.” Ya think? “Local media outlets reported that a second suspect carjacked the delivery woman’s silver 2000 Honda Accord and remains on the run.” OK, so, Papa John’s has a strict no-guns policy for all its employees. Only not so much . . .

The delivery woman’s mother had told WSB-TV her daughter is worried she may lose her job because she was carrying a firearm at work for protection.

While Papa John’s prohibits employees — including delivery drivers — from carrying firearms on the job, the pizza giant said Thursday the woman would not be let go from the company. She instead will be reassigned to another role, according to the company.

“The safety of Papa John’s employees is a top priority for our company, ” the company said in an email to FoxNews.com.

“Company policy prohibits employees from utilizing firearms in the performance of their duties.We plan no changes to our current policy, which is designed to protect customers and employees,” the statement read. “Upon investigation and considering the specific facts of the situation, we have reassigned the employee to work in the store and are offering her counseling to help her recuperate from the incident.”

So . . . don’t ask, don’t tell? Seems the sensible approach – until and unless the company talks to its insurance brokers and figures out a way to respect its employees’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. No breath holding please. [h/t Scottlac]

Recommended For You

60 Responses to Papa John’s Pizza: No Guns for Employees! Except For One. Retroactively.

  1. Talk about coincidental timing. Just posted this in the “SUBMIT AN ARTICLE!” forum and 30 seconds later it shows up here! You are a very quick writer RF! Impressive!

  2. Seems to me that a good way to get insurance companies to change their policies is to make it a liability to prohibit firearms.. ie when someone gets fired for defending themselves, sue the crap out of the offending company. (obviously not applicable in this case)

    • That precise scenario won’t work in the vast majority of states since it is perfectly legal to fire an employee for violating a workplace prohibition against carrying. It wouldn’t even make it past a motion to dismiss. That said, if we want to turn the tables on insurance companies, lawsuits could be brought against owners of gun-free zones after shootings or other violent crimes occur in their utopian buildings. For example, if a concealed carry holder was injured in the movie theater in Aurora, CO, perhaps that person could bring a tort claim against the theater. If suits of that nature started to happen more often, even if they are not ultimately successful, perhaps insurance companies would start to re-think things.

      • There’s not much of a lawsuit that could be filed with the Aurora theater shooting. Prohibition of weapons is not enforceable in Colorado (IE, your permit doesn’t become invalid like it does in Texas if they have their approved sign posted). The worst case scenario is: you enter a business, they discover you are carrying a firearm, they ask you to leave, and you refuse. You could be charged with a 3rd Degree Criminal Trespass (CRS 18-4-504) which is a class 1 Petty Offense (not even a misdemeanor). Basically, if someone had been carrying concealed in the theater that day and had fired upon the shooter, the theater could ask them in the aftermath to never return. If they returned, they can be charged with the 3rd Degree Criminal Trespass and pay their petty offense fine. I don’t think there is much room for a litigation that will go anywhere in this case, unfortunately.

        • Your permit does not “become invalid”, you are trespassing. Before being charged with trespassing, you must refuse to leave when ordered to. So, carry right past the sign, remembering to conceal. If your permit were somehow invalid, you would instantly be subject to arrest.

          My dream evening is to go to a fancy restaurant and run up a couple hundred dollar bill, before they discover I am armed and ask me to leave. OK, bye, guys! That sign would be off the window before I stopped laughing at them.

        • Huh – I wasn’t aware of that Jeff.. (Not trying to challenge you) — I know when got my CC permit (I’m in Colorado as well) I was told that the signs do have the full force of law behind them. Interestingly enough, our instructor was from Texas… Maybe he was misinformed or I’m reading it wrong.

          Because of this, there have been times I’ve gone back to the car with my LCP when certain establishments had a sign, figuring risk of a felony.

          (About a week after the Aurora shooting, some theatres did try to do pat downs, that didn’t go over well.)

          But I was (perhaps falsely) given the impression that cc’ing past a no berettas sign was as illegal as carrying concealed without a permit in Colorado. If it’s not, I’d want to confirm it, but that’s certainly good to hear.

        • Larry,

          Thanks for clarifying my misunderstanding. I have never directly looked at the TX statute and only knew about the state approved sign that could be posted from what people have posted on this website.

          Michelle,

          I was a full-time LEO for a major agency near the Denver-Metro area for approximately 6 ½ years and then stayed on as a reserve until recently. I wish there was a way to PM on here as I don’t want to provide specifics on a public forum. I don’t have my blue book in front of me and don’t have the CCW statute # memorized, but I’ll post it later today (it’s easier to look up in my book than search through Lexus Nexus). There are a few exceptions, one being a place that restricts access with devices such as metal detectors. The other exception, of course, are Federal properties such as the Post Office, etc. They do provide for “private business rights” in the CCW statute, but the most it can actually lead to is the Third Degree Criminal Trespass if you refuse to leave. I also say all of this with the “contact an attorney for legal advice” as a disclaimer as I am a former LEO, not an attorney.

          I’ll post the statute with those provisions later today. The one thing to consider is that it is always a civil legal “gray area,” so it wouldn’t necessarily exempt you from a civil litigation (specifically punitive damages), but that is why everyone that carries should invest in protective insurance for legal assistance. Since I am still a firearms instructor and work with my volunteer church security team, I have the instructor & self defense insurance plans and max it out. A $900 annual investment for me with $1,000,000 in legal protection is worth every penny. The general CCW’s plans are $165-600/yr. I used the NRA’s recommended insurance provider (http://www.locktonaffinity.com/nrains/defense.htm).

          Hope this helps!

        • In Texas, you’re trespassing the instant you refuse to leave while CCing once you’ve been notified by the property owner, or by someone with apparent authority to represent the property owner, that concealed carry is prohibited on that property.

          Direct notification to you individually can be verbal in any wording that gets the message across, or in writing provided to you specifically, in which case specific wording must be followed, but can be on a card or other document.

          A licensed concealed carrier is assumed to have been provided effective notification, regardless of any individual, specific communication, if the property owner has posted an official “30.06” sign, whose specifications are defined by state law.

          If you walk past a lawful 30.06 sign onto the property, you’ve committed trespassing at that instant. No further specific, direct, individual notification is required, because you’ve already been provided effective notification.

          Three quick side notes:

          No such sign or direct notification is needed if CC is barred by statute at such a location; school premises, for example. The law is the law and signage isn’t required in such cases.

          An official sign or even direct notification cannot bar you from otherwise lawfully carrying concealed if the property administrators have no legal authority to bar you. Due to preemption, cities and counties cannot bar you from carrying in public libraries, for example. If you see a sign, walk past it because it’s illegal. Better yet, politely bring it to their attention and ask that it be removed. I’ve done it.

          Finally, in Texas, criminal trespass by a licensed concealed carrier is a Class A misdemeanor. That carries up to a year in jail and up to $4K in fines, plus you lose your license for five+ years. It’s not like just paying a parking ticket and being done with it. It may be that serious in CO or other states, too.

      • Ahhhh……legislating from the bench. Isn’t that contortion of the Constitution’s separation of powers a major factor in how we got into this firearms infringement mess in the first place?

        It’s private property and the employment terms are at will. Don’t like it? Don’t work there. Just don’t go running to court to extract from your employer by 3rd party force of arms what you couldn’t obtain through legitimate negotiations.

        • Why the hell not? The other side does it? You can’t beat a pig in a fight if you’re afraid to get muddy. If it takes suing a company over their policies that get people killed (the same week this attack was stopped, an unarmed employee in Birmingham was beatten to death in a robbery.) then it takes suing to win.

          Contract law stipulates that no contract can be enforced which violates the law. (IE: If I slip in a clause that mandates you kill my mother-in-law for me into your work contract, that clause is unenforcable.) I would argue that any policy or contract that disarms an employee violates that employee’s second amendment right to self defense as written into the Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court. You can tell me all day that I cannot carry a firearm while delivering pizza for your company, but that line in the rule book is unenforcable as it violates the law. My rights trump your wishes.

        • Forrest…..ohhhh……Forrest……you’re confused on so much here. OK, I’ll go step by step and refute everything you’ve written. Here goes…..

          First, I never said you can’t do something, like legislating from the bench. I strongly implied it was wrong, which I stand by, because it is. You go support whatever you want. Still, it’s a fundamental perversion of the constitutional system of checks and balances. I get what you’re saying, that we need to fight tough and not pussyfoot around. I get it. Where I draw the line is with acting unconstitutionally, as by legislating from the bench. It’s impossible to defend constitutional rights by acting outside of constitutional restraints. You cannot uphold the Constitution by upending it, any more than you can save the country by destroying it. .

          Beyond that, it turns us all into giant hypocrites. We all bemoan the flagrant infringements the gun grabbers inflict on us. It makes us no better to advocate end runs around the Constitution for our own purposes. Otherwise, the whole issue comes down not to who’s right and who’s wrong, but rather who’s louder and who’s more cutthroat, as both sides would be in the wrong. If that’s the case, then it’s you who’s pussyfooting around. After all, why stop at legislating from the bench? In for a penny, in for a pound, no? Why not just call for bloody violent insurrection? If we’re shredding the Constitution, anyway, why not go all in? I don’t want to do any of that, so that’s why I come down against infringements and counter-constitutional conduct across the board, not just when it suits me.

          You refer to contract law and the unenforceability of a contract to commit murder, then represent that as analogous to an employment contract wherein an employer bars employees from possessing firearms on the job. First off, there is no employment contract in these cases. These are at-will employment situations, meaning either party is free to terminate the relationship at will, with or without notice, with or without cause. Second, murder is ipso facto illegal. Even if there were a contract, the contract is invalid because there’s no exchange of valid consideration. That is, each party isn’t giving the other something to which the giver has the right to give. Sure, one party can pay his own money to the other to have the other murder a third party, but that second party has no right to murder anyone in the first place. So the contract is void.

          There is where your analogy is void, too, because an employee who agrees to work for a firearms-banning employer does indeed have something to give up: his right to possess a firearm. Unlike murdering someone, which nobody has a right to do, everyone has a right to keep and bear arms. The right to keep and bear arms implies the right NOT to keep and bear arms, if that person so chooses. You’re perfectly free to give up that right in exchange for employment. In fact, similar forfeitures of fundamental rights happen…..every……single…..day.

          Parties have the rights to free speech and to sue, correct? Yet, every day parties agree to settle differences out of court: one give financial consideration, while the other forfeits his right to sue over this matter or ever to speak about it. Look at your cell phone contract. You’ll find that you’ve likely already forfeited your right to sue, in favor of binding arbitration, by accepting the terms of that contract. You have freedom of association, right? Try exercising that right by dating one of your employer’s major customers or vendors. You’ll be barred from doing so or fired for having done so, because it presents a conflict of interest detrimental to your employer. Try exercising your free speech by wearing cutoffs and crocks to your corporate job. Likewise, you’ll be barred from doing so or fired if you do it.

          There are infinite examples, Forrest, but the point is that people make voluntary decisions to forego exercise of certain freedoms in exchange for employment. That’s the ongoing, mutual understanding, which YOU the employee AGREED to. You don’t then get to run off to a court and cry “Do Over!” because you want it both ways: you get paid by the employer, but don’t have to abide by terms you agreed to at the outset. That’s cheating. That’s stealing. It isn’t a matter of my wishes or your rights at that point. It’s a matter of your standing behind your commitments. Attractiveness of employment conditions is a matter to negotiate before making that commitment, not one to try to secure via court order after you’ve made that commitment.

        • i lied to get the job, they lied about the job. we’re even.
          cheating? maybe. stealing? not at all.

    • Actually, the better answer would be to not carry, and if you are robbed/beaten/injured on the job by someone whom would have had holes in them if you had your right, sue the crap outta the company AND the insurance company for it’s policies prohibiting self defense, and failing to provide adequate security in the absence of personal protection.

      My current job has me driving all over AZ, and I’m not allowed to carry while on the job. I frequently carry expensive equipment as well. I get robbed, because I didn’t have my firearm on me, I’m suing the company, the insurance company, the senior management in New Jersey as individuals, and every person involved with making it a policy to prevent firearms in any of their offices only by employees.

      I hope I get my own private island for my troubles.

  3. WTF! Why is it that companies can be sued for employees misuse of firearms in their name, but not for the injury or death of their employees due to their being disarmed? Completely ass-backwards…. Thanks, American court system!

    • Nope, you’re just missing the relevant principles involved. An employer can be sued for an employee’s misuse of a firearm, but even that’s limited. You have to prove that the employer had a duty to protect those injured parties. You have to prove that the employer breached that duty. You have to prove that the employee’s misuse of the firearm was the proximate cause of the injured parties’ injuries. You have to prove that the injured parties didn’t contribute to their own injury, if you want full recovery from the employer. You have to prove that the employer acted outside the relevant standard of care; for example, that they didn’t act negligently. You have to prove that the employer knew or should have known that the risk of injury was substantial. You have to prove that the employee was acting within the scope of his duties.

      There are a lot of elements of the case to prove and most would-be cases cannot meet those thresholds. I think you’ll find that employers bar firearms not because there’s a risk of liability or higher insurance premiums, but because of the hassle factor. Simply dealing with an injury or death, the disruption to business, the negative media exposure, and the legal wrangling in the aftermath, is all expensive and headache-inducing, regardless whether there’s ever a settlement or jury award. Really, your own homeowners insurance provider doesn’t charge you more if you have firearms, except perhaps if they’re valuable, but that’s for liability of property loss, not injury to anyone. The risk of injury is negligible and the risk of liability is even less, for employers, but those peripheral costs mentioned above are what they want to avoid. So it’s easier just to bar firearms.

      As for the employee not being able to sue, well, that’s another element of civil law liability: assumption of risk. He agreed to work there with a no-firearms policy, so he assumed the risk and is not entitled to compensation for injuries sustained during any robbery, on the basis of firearms being barred as a condition of employment.

  4. “Company policy prohibits employees from utilizing firearms in the performance of their duties.We plan no changes to our current policy, which is designed to protect customers and employees,”

    So, I’m curious.

    Exactly how did that policy protect this employee when she was attacked?

    Acceptance of this sort of thing is just asinine. Policies don’t do squat; they only provide a means of punishment after the fact.

    Glad to hear she won’t be fired. Yet. That may come after some minor offense after her reassignment.

    But really…what fantasy reality do people live in to honestly believe that words on a piece of paper can protect them from anything?

  5. How exactly can a company prohibit weapons off their property? Hell even on their property in the drivers car in most states is legal.

    • GA law, and I’m paraphrasing here, states that employers cannot fire an employee for a gun in their car on company property unless they provide a secure lot to park on. So technically, her keeping the gun in the car for a run is out of Papa J’s realm. If they can prove she carried it in, different story.

  6. “She instead will be reassigned to another role, according to the company.”
    Rolling dough, mopping floors, whatever. Same wage, but no tips.

    “The safety of Papa John’s employees is a top priority for our company,”
    A top priority, but obviously not THE top priority. That would be avoiding liability lawsuits.

    “Company policy prohibits employees from utilizing firearms in the performance of their duties. We plan no changes to our current policy, which is designed to protect customers and employees,”
    B.S. It’s designed to pacify the lawyers who think such a policy will protect them from liability suits.

    Interesting choice of words, though. “policy prohibits employees from utilizing firearms.” I guess if it’s in a holster, it’s not being utilized. Right?

    • Right! Or, if it is “utilized”, that is, for legitimate self-defense use, that “utilization” is not being done in the “performance of their duties.” Defending yourself against a violent attacker is not in the Papa John’s job description.

  7. Hey at least every criminal will now know that every Papa John’s driver is not armed. Papa John’s makes Moms Against Guns happy, and the criminals happy too! It’s a win/win. Oh wait… 🙂

    • That’s simply not true. Almost half of my coworkers at another national chain carry firearms in direct violation of company policy. It just means criminals will think we aren’t. That increases the threat we face on a nightly basis but does nothing to deter us from defending ourselves. We just know we’ll most likely lose our jobs and have to go to “the other chain” if we are forced to shoot someone during a robbery.

  8. “Company policy prohibits employees from utilizing firearms in the performance of their duties”

    She did not use the firearm in the performce of her duties. She used it in the performance of saving her life.

  9. Hmmm…maybe Papa is afraid of a backlash so close to SuperBowl Sunday? And aren’t they special reassigning her after she had no car to deliver pizza anyway. If I ever had this s##t job I’d carry regardless…

  10. Massive legal action at every level, from individual corporate policymakers to the insurance companies to set a precedent would be needed. Massive amounts of money and pro2a lawyers that are willing to engage in both solid cases and every underhanded legal tactic to burden the company’s legal department beyond sustainability. Doing this to a large American company, its managers and insurers will likely run into the billion dollar range.

  11. Shitty jobs are a dime a dozen, that’s not to say just because you are a pizza delivery person you should take your job for granted (I had to work on a roofing crew for a while a few years ago just to make ends meet during a long spell of unemployment), but there will always be another wage job out there and you only get one life. Bravo to the heat packing pizza girl, and I hope she recognizes just because she is behind the counter she isn’t out of the line of fire.

    Stay safe out there kids.

  12. The Papa John’s near me is posted no guns. In my state, this makes someone a criminal for just walking through the doors with a gun.

    I’m not impressed, Papa John.

        • No, the police have to have probable cause to search you. Papa John’s employees have absolutely zero right or legal authority to search their customers.

    • Papa John’s is seriously the nastiest pizza I’ve ever tasted. It’s no great loss to me not to patronize their establishment.

      • IMO it’s as good as any of the national chains go as far as delivery is concerned, but there’s way too many good pizza places in the Atlanta area to even bother with. Maybe this lady can get signed on with Fellini’s, Mellow Mushroom, or any one f a million mom-and-pop pizza joints in the county.

        Tom

  13. So we are winning? Awesome. Keep it up and hopefully soon it’ll be a non-issue. Your choice to carry. Officially.

  14. I have worked for this company in the past and currently work for another national pizza delivery chain. While working for Papa Johns and their competitor, I have absolutely refused to comply with this rule. And you know what? My general managers love that.

    While working in a large city in my early 20’s, I was one of two employees who were known to carry handguns. After dark, we were the only two employees allowed to deliver to certan neighborhoods and motels which had been the locations of robberies in the past. We were informed that corporate policy would require that we were fired if we ever used that firearm, but nobody really cared until that point so long as nobody from outside of the store ever found out.

    At my current job, my boss, again, loves that I carry a firearm. She will hold specific deliveries for me if she feels that they are in an area where other drivers might be unsafe. Just as before, I know that I will likely be fired if I am ever forced to fire my pistol, but that’s just not something I worry about. I worry more about the people who follow that rule and may die as a result.

    Papa Johns has had two drivers attacked on two consecutive days this week. One had a pistol and made it home safely. The other did not and did not. Their assertation that this policy is for driver’s safety is completely absurd and can be shown as such by simply looking at the statistics for driver assaults. Drivers who arm themselves virtually always survive with fewer injuries than those who do not arm themselves.

    Fortunately, I live in a state who’s laws make enforcing this rule illegal. As I own my truck and not my company, they have zero say in what I carry inside that truck. If they were to fire me, or dicipline me in any way, for carrying a firearm while on the clock, I would have grounds to sue them. Right to work means they can fire you for no reason at all, it does not mean that they can fire you for reasons that are protected by law. If that were the case, someone could be fired for being hispanic, gay, female, or a second amendment supporter.

    • 1) Missouri just changed its constitution to expand that a right to bear arms is a fundamental right
      2) Missouri allows employers to prohibit employees to carry a concealed gun inside the building, but leaving it in the car is not a crime.
      3)Missouri is a right to work state so an employer can an employee for any reason
      4) Missouri recognizes 3 exceptions to RTW
      5) One exception to RTW is for a worker who is exercising a fundamental right
      6) Since the right to bear is now a fundamental right, arguably,if you were fired for exercising that right, you could sue.
      7) Also, an employer’s violation of any statute that is the cause of harm to the employee can increase worker compensation obligation by up to 20%

      Just saying. I am working on my memo to my employer on this issue. The $$ liability will scare them.

      • Uh, Dirk?

        Since when did Missouri become a right to work state? I just moved to Georgia from there (Springfield area, to be exact), after Hellmart shitcanned me right before Christmas 2013. So I ought to know. And believe me, they made it pretty clear upon hire that Misery was an at-will state. That was in 2008, so forgive me if I fell behind.

        Tom

  15. I used to work as a communications technician for a major cellular company in Oregon. This company had a “no firearms” policy even though much of my work was done at night at cell sites in bad areas of Portland. I told my manager that unless the company sends a security guard with me I will conduct my night work with my 1911 secured to my side.

  16. It would seem the policy failed on both counts – neither the employee or the customer appear to be safer as a result if it.

  17. Screw Papa John’s their pizza sucks. All national chains do. I only buy pizza from local merchants who actually care about making a good pizza and your 2nd Amendment rights as well.

  18. I know that Papa John’s pizza sucks, but that didn’t give Donquaz (pronounced Donkeyazz?) Stevenson the right to beat up the delivery driver. That was clearly an over-reaction.

    And Donquaz Stevenson? What the hell kind of name is Stevenson?

  19. Unless you are getting patted down or passing through metal detectors to enter your workplace, EVERY job is under a don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

    Survival > Corporate CYA policies.

    Bottom line is what I’ve got in my pocket is not my employers business anymore than what kind of underwear I’m wearing. And as long as I retain the tiniest shred of discretion and responsibility its going to stay that way.

    • Like the security specialist said to my wife, there is a difference between not allowed and not able. The important question to ask your self is ” am I able?”

  20. If the driver peed standing up they’d be out on their ear.
    Firing some one that presently is having a war waged against them could possibly be bad PR.

  21. Does assigned a new position mean less money? She likely made most of her salary from tips. A similar job probably won’t pay as much.

  22. Small steps here folks.

    Had this woman worked for Pizza Hut, UPS, 7-11 etc she would have been swiftly fired. Sure Papa Johns gave us some silly PC response to it but they stand by her, gave her a new position and offered counseling.

    While the company doesn’t encourage carry they seem to have no issues with employees defending themselves. Looks like I figured out dinner for tonight.

  23. Sounds like a policy in place because the corporate lawyers said it had to be there. You know those same lawyers had to have put the pressure on to let her go. It sounds like she was pretty shaken up by the whole affair, so Papa John’s gets a bank-shot. She gets to be off the street for awhile to recoup and they are footing the bill for counseling and they get cover from the insurance companies by saying, “Well, we took her off the street.”

  24. There was a giant sign in the store window at Papa Johns in Columbia, TN, “No guns allowed in our store.” The black thug saw that sign and knew that was an easy target and shot and killed this young man. Thanks Papa Johns for advertising and encouraging someone to walk in an unarmed staff and rob .them, then shoot and kill them! Put that is your pizza commercial!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *