AIM testifies on bill allowing unpaid leave for domestic violence victims

Associated Industries of Missouri president Ray McCarty this week testified against legislation purporting to help victims of domestic violence, but in reality setting up a whole new line of potential lawsuits against employers. McCarty also offered the sponsoring Senator suggestions for eliminating AIM’s opposition to the bill by removing several provisions that allow employers to be sued.

Senate Bill 907 is sponsored by Sen. Gina Walsh (D-Bellefontaine Neighbors).

“We believe the framework provided in the bill contains sufficient documentation requirements for employees wanting to take the unpaid leave, and we believe nearly all employers will comply with the law without threat of lawsuit,” said McCarty in his testimony before the Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee.

“But we must object to the bill as currently drafted because there is a new protected class of employees established by the bill: domestic violence victims. Employers want to be fair and do not object to providing employees that are documented victims of domestic violence unpaid leave to receive the medical treatment they or their children may need and to be able to pursue legal actions against their aggressors. But we cannot allow a new protected class of employees to be established and, in fact, we don’t think it is necessary,” said McCarty.

Following the hearing, McCarty provided language to Sen. Walsh’s office and proponents of the bill that eliminated the lawsuit language.

No action was taken on the bill in Tuesday’s hearing.