Missouri House takes on Whistleblower Protection Act

This week the Missouri House discussed Missouri’s Whistleblower policy and what the legislature can do to protect those who speak out on wrongdoing in the workplace. Heard in the House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee, House Bill 1188 would protect employees who report illegal workplace conduct. Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa, the proposed legislation would also provide legal protection to employers.

The bill would 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 protected person under the whistleblower protection.  The bill would then become the exclusive remedy for any and all unlawful employment practices and puts a cap on the amount of damages a person can receive.  However, a court may award the plaintiff actual damages.

This Missouri Chamber is supportive of this legislation.  Jay Atkins, general counsel for the Missouri Chamber, testified on behalf of the bill.

“Those who oppose this legislation argue that potential plaintiffs will be unable to file litigation because the definition of protected person under the bill is more stringent than what currently exists in common law,” Atkins said. “However, employers and employees are best served by having this standard established in statute.”

The committee did not take any action on this bill.  For more information about employment law, please contact Jay Atkins, general counsel for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry at jatkins@mochamber.com or by phone at 573-634-3511.



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