Missouri Business Headlines

Missouri Senate votes to balance Missouri courts for all parties

Posted on

Landmark legislation to help block frivolous discrimination lawsuits from our state courts has been approved by the Missouri Senate. Senators voted 23-9 in support of Senate Bill 43, legislation sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, a Republican from Farmington. The legislation would align discrimination standards with standards established in Senate Bill 113, a bill recently approved by the Senate and awaiting action in the House. The Missouri Chamber has championed for over a decade legislation to inject balance to the way the Missouri Human Rights Act is litigated.

“Missouri is considered one of the easiest states in the nation in which to bring frivolous discrimination lawsuits, a reputation that does no good for anyone but trial attorneys who get rich gaming a broken system,” said Missouri Chamber President and CEO Dan Mehan. ““Discrimination is ugly and wrong.  But tipping the standards so far against employers is also wrong. This bill simply provides justice for both parties.”

Under Senate Bill 43 an employee can bring a discrimination claim if that employee’s protected class is the motivating factor for the adverse action. The bill states that the employee’s protected classification must have actually played a role in the adverse action or decision and had a determinative influence on the action. The employee must prove that the action was the direct proximate cause of the claimed damages.

The legislation abrogates a long line of recent court decisions which eroded the intent of the Missouri Human Rights Act making sure employers have a fair shake in these types of lawsuits. Senate Bill 43 would also establish caps on discrimination lawsuits at $500,000 for Missouri’s largest employers.

The legislation further includes a provision to codify the existing common law exceptions and make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discharge or retaliate against an individual who is a whistleblower of his or her employer’s unlawful conduct.

« Back to News