Date: April 19, 2012
In order to ensure the physical safety of its employees and members of the public who transact business at its offices, the Workers' Compensation Board (Board) strictly prohibits the carrying or bearing of firearms or other dangerous weapons (as defined in the New York State Penal Law § 265.00) on Board premises. The carrying or bearing of any other dangerous instrument capable of conversion into a dangerous weapon is also strictly prohibited.
The Board's weapons policy is applicable to all employees, parties, legal representatives, witnesses, and visitors who appear at Board offices and hearing sites. Any Board employee who violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.
The Board's weapons policy extends to law enforcement officers, even if in uniform and on duty and appearing as a witness in a workers' compensation proceeding. If a law enforcement officer arrives at a Board office with a weapon, the Board's Office of Security (or any Board Employee) will ask the officer to secure his or her weapon in accordance with the regulations of his or her law enforcement agency. Board employees, however, are not allowed to secure, possess, or take custody of firearms themselves. If the law enforcement officer is unable to secure his or her weapon in a timely fashion, his or her testimony will have to be rescheduled.
Law enforcement officers are permitted to bear firearms at a Board office in specific circumstances: when responding to an emergency, or when the Board's Office of Security requests them to appear at a special handling case.
All carriers, attorneys, and licensed representatives are strongly encouraged to inform any party scheduled to appear at a Board hearing of the Board's weapons policy, as a violation may cause delays in the adjudication of the case.
Claimants and other interested parties are specifically informed of the Board's weapons policy when they receive a notice of hearing.
Robert E. Beloten