SS/SB 852 - Currently, under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), a practice is unlawful when the protected trait is a contributing factor in the decision to discriminate. This act changes that standard to a motivating factor standard and in age discrimination cases, the standard is changed to encompass only discriminatory decisions that would not have occurred but for age. The plaintiffs in employment and age discrimination cases have the burden of proving these standards.
Currently, persons acting in the interest of employers are considered employers under the MHRA and are liable for discriminatory practices. This act modifies the definition of employer to exclude those individuals. The act similarly excludes the United States government, corporations owned by the United States, individuals employed by employers, Indian tribes, certain departments or agencies of the District of Columbia, and private membership clubs from the definition.
The act directs the courts to rely heavily on judicial interpretations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act when deciding MHRA employment discrimination cases.
The act abrogates McBryde v. Ritenour School District to require courts to allow a business judgment jury instruction whenever offered by the defendant.
The act recommends two methods to the courts for analyzing employment discrimination cases as a basis for granting summary judgment. The mixed motive and burden shifting analysis are based on court rulings interpreting federal law and the act abrogates numerous Missouri cases in urging the courts to consider the methods highly persuasive.
Parties to a discrimination case under the MHRA may demand a jury trial.
Damages awarded for employment cases under the MHRA shall not exceed back pay and interest on back pay and $50,000 for employers with between 5 and 100 employees, $100,000 for employers with between 100 and 200 employees, $200,000 for employers with between 200 and 500 employees, or $300,000 for employers with more than 500 employees. Punitive damages shall not be awarded against the state of Missouri or political subdivisions in MHRA cases.
The act abrogates all Missouri case law relating to exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine. Employers shall not retaliate or discriminate against employees exclusively as a result of the fact that the employee refused to violate a statute, regulation, constitutional provision, ordinance, or common law at the request of someone employed by the employer who has direct or indirect supervisory authority. The same standard shall apply when employees report an illegal act of the employer. The act establishes caps for damages for such cases identical to those created for MHRA cases with the exception of back pay and interest on back pay which are not allowed.
This act is similar to HB 1456 (2006), SB 168 (2007), SB 1046 (2008), HB 799 (2009), HB 227 (2009),SB 374 (2009), HB 1488 (2010).
SA 1: THE EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE EMPLOYMENT AT-WILL DOCTRINE DO NOT APPLY TO EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES.
SSA for SA 1: IN ADDITION TO THE EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, THE EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE EMPLOYMENT AT-WILL DOCTRINE DO NOT APPLY TO AN EMPLOYEES REFUSAL TO COMMIT OR REPORT VIOLATIONS OF CERTAIN STATUTES REGULATING ABORTIONS AND CRIMINAL INFANTICIDE.