Work comp retaliation, discrimination and whistleblower bill headed to House floor

Representative Kevin Austin has sponsored HB 1019, a bill that addresses the Missouri Human Rights Act, addresses whistleblower statutes, and corrects a Missouri Supreme Court case that has left employers vulnerable to abusive lawsuits regarding work comp retaliation.

A House Committee Substitute for HB 1019 was passed by the Select Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations this week that aligns Missouri’s discrimination statutes with the federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), by requiring discrimination to be a motivating factor in an employment decision if the employer is to be held liable in a discrimination claim. The same standard would be applied to work comp retaliation cases.  Also, whistleblowers would be afforded protection if they are truly alerting authorities (including their supervisor, human resources department of their company, a company officer, or a member of law enforcement) to an illegal act of the employer, but employers would be afforded protection against those that currently claim whistleblower protection when the employer has not engaged in wrongdoing.

The Substitute addresses nearly all issues that were raised by opponents of the original bill and the bill now moves to the House floor for further consideration when the legislature returns from the legislative break.