Unlawful discrimination bill approved by Missouri Senate after hours-long filibuster

romine
Senator Gary Romine

SB 43 (sponsored by Senator Gary Romine), the act that restores the standard of proof in unlawful discriminatory practices lawsuits, was perfected after an hours-long filibuster in the Senate. Initial approval was given to the bill by the Senate today on a 23-9 vote. The bill will now move to the House for further review.

Currently, under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), a practice is unlawful when discrimination is a contributing factor in an adverse employment decision. This act changes that standard to require proof that the discrimination was the motivating factor. The motivating factor is defined to mean that the employee’s protected classification actually played a role in the adverse action or decision and had a determinative influence on the adverse decision or action. The person must further prove that such action was the direct proximate cause of the claimed damages.

An amendment was proposed that would have established a new protected class allowing employees alleging discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity to file lawsuits against employers. AIM has long opposed this provision and eventually it was blocked and not added to the bill.

Associated Industries of Missouri is fully supportive of SB 43 because it protects businesses from false claims of discrimination. If approved by the House and signed by Governor Greitens, essentially the same standard of proof that is required in federal courts in Missouri would be used in state courts in Missouri.

The bill now moves to the House for further deliberation.