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It’s time to bring balance back to Missouri courts: Senate reviews bill to right eroded employment law

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Missouri is considered one of the easiest states in the nation in which to bring frivolous discrimination lawsuits. A Missouri Senate Committee took action to change that damaging reputation by reviewing legislation that would raise the standards for bringing discrimination lawsuits against employers.

“Discrimination is ugly and wrong. It has no place at work,” said Brian Bunten, Missouri Chamber general counsel. “That’s why we need a strong law that allows expedient action in cases of discrimination and blocks fraudulent claims from moving forward.”

Senate Bill 43, sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, a Republican from Farmington, would return the law to its intended purpose by abrogating the troublesome Daugherty v. City of Maryland Heights case, in which the court applied a Missouri Approved Instruction, overriding the intent of the Missouri General Assembly.

“A decade of court decisions have eroded our state’s laws and made Missouri courts a dangerous place for employers,” Bunten said. “Often, rather than go through the expense of building a case against a biased court system, employers will settle out of court. That’s not justice. That’s extortion.”

The legislation would also establish caps on discrimination lawsuits aligning Missouri with federal law.  Damages would be capped at $50,000 above back pay of employees bringing suit against an employer of 5 to 100 employees. That cap increases to $100,000 for employers with between 100 and 200 employees, $200,000 for employers with between 200 and 500 employees and $300,000 for employers with more than 500 employees.

For more information, contact Bunten at 573.634.3511.

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