House passes effort to reform Missouri discrimination laws

An effort to bring Missouri in line with federal discrimination standards has passed the Missouri House.

House Bill 1019 would require fired employees to prove their termination was motivated by discrimination. The new standard would replace Missouri’s existing standard, which only requires employees to show discrimination contributed to their dismissal.

The House passed the bill 98-61.

“For far too long, Missouri businesses have faced an uphill battle in discrimination lawsuits. This bill would provide a fair playing field for both employers and workers and help bring Missouri in line with federal law,” said Jay Atkins, a registered lobbyist representing the Missouri Chamber. “We would like to thank the leadership of the Missouri House for moving this important bill forward. Now, we turn our attention to the Senate where similar language is waiting for a vote in committee.”

House Bill 1019 is sponsored by Rep. Kevin Austin, a Republican from Springfield. During House floor debate on the bill, opponents attacked this effort to change Missouri’s discrimination laws. However, Rep. Austin reminded House members that the bill simply follows successful federal law.

“There is nobody who has said Title VII is unfair and discriminating against plaintiffs,” Rep. Austin said.

Unfortunately, the state’s existing statute has opened the door to retaliatory lawsuits that aren’t always based on merit. If passed, into law House Bill 1019 would help stop these frivolous lawsuits while ensuring employees retain the ability to sue in cases of discrimination.

“This bill does nothing to prevent legitimate claims,” Rep. Austin said.

For more information about this bill, contact Atkins at jatkins@mochamber.com.

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About mochamber

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands that the quality of life in our state depends on quality jobs for Missourians. To that end, we have one simple mission: to protect and advance Missouri business.

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