Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Disneyland Meets Florida Laws ... just

You may recall that on July 5, Disneyland Florida announced that it would not feel obliged to accommodate a new state law requiring them to allow employees to keep firearms in their cars, when they are parked in the employee parking lot.

The reason: a minor clause excepting employers who keep explosives on-site, designed for Military bases.

Disneyland (Orlando) maintains a stock of fireworks, which it considered a legitimate qualification.

However, last week Disney demonstrated an abrupt about-face in its corporate policy when it announced that it would, under certain (not too burdensome) circumstances abide by the new Florida State Law.
ORLANDO, Fla. - Walt Disney World is revising its employee gun ban policy.

That's according to a company memo obtained Friday.

With the change, some Disney employees will be allowed to keep a gun locked in a car as long as the employee has a concealed-weapons permit, the gun isn't visible, and the weapon isn't taken out of the car.

The memo says the change only applies to employees who work at facilities outside the Walt Disney World Resort area.

Disney had previously claimed to be exempt from a new state law that allows Florida residents to keep firearms in their vehicles while at work.

The company's policy applies only to employees. Guests with valid permits can keep guns in their cars.


Sounds pretty good, eh? They're finally deciding that it's better to obey the law than to parse the law.

Perhaps not. Here's the operative paragraph in the press release:

The memo says the change only applies to employees who work at facilities outside the Walt Disney World Resort area.

I've never been to Disneyland, or to Florida, but my best guess is that "...facilities outside the Walt Disney World Resort area" constitutes at least 90% of the Disney properties in Florida. (More likely 99%.) And the number of employees in this exclusive area are mostly executives or drones ... it works for Disney either way, because they don't much care what happens to the employees; they are NOT in the public eye, there.

What appears to be a grand concession to State Law turns into a demonstration of (in their eyes) an expression of sangfroid. Nothing more. Perhaps less.

And that concession is only because, as it's not a 'public area', they don't store fireworks on the premises ... which means that their weasel-words are not legally applicable, so they can't STOP the odd employee from bringing his gun to town.

The Corporate Policy at Disneyland (Orlando), where most of the employees work, hasn't changed a bit.

In other words, employees (who have undergone a background check) are mostly still prevented from having a firearms in their car in the employee parking lot. But guests (who are complete strangers to the Corporation) may have guns in their cars in the Guest parking lot.

Does this sound to you as if the Disney corporation has a vendetta against their employees? Well, they know best. After all, the Employees are the people who portray Mickey Mouse, Minnie, and Tigger as they meet with guests. They certainly wouldn't abuse a guest.

Does Disney not trust their procedures for vetting their employees? If not, wouldn't it be better to improve their policy on hiring, rather than to defy state laws?

Perhaps. But this way is cheaper, and easier. Not to mention that the Disney corporation is less likely to suffer from violating state law than from violating their guests.

It's not a lot of fun to be pessimistic and cynical, but it does have its good side: at least I'm never disappointed.

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