KC lawyers speak out against potential changes to workplace discrimination laws
While some Missouri business groups claim Missouri workplace discrimination laws have an adverse economic impact on businesses and the economy, Kansas City attorneys share a different view.
Attorney Henry Cox, who specializes in employment and labor law, argues that while the legislation maybe well intended, it goes too far, noting the significance of the changes in the damage structure putting more caps on damages.
As previously reported, SB592 proposes to change the Missouri Human Rights Act to impose a less strict standard on employers regarding workplace discrimination. In addition, the legislation would cap damages based on the size of the employer.
Currently, a practice is unlawful when the “protected trait” is a contributing factor in the discrimination. SB592 would change that standard to a motivating factor instead of a contributing factor.
According to Mark Jess of the Employee Rights Law Firm, no evidence exists to support
the claim that even one employer has left Missouri or refused to expand her business because of the human rights act.
At this time, the Missouri Senate’s Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee has approved the legislation for debate and a full vote of the Senate.
According to Missouri Net: The bill makes it harder to win discrimination complaints in state courts, limits damage awards, and changes standards for whistleblower actions. Backers say it puts Missouri in line with federal law. Governor Nixon vetoed a similar bill last year.
From Missouri Net: Changes in human rights law facing senate debate