While it makes good business sense for employers to enact policies prohibiting discrimination against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation, Associated Industries of Missouri does not believe the state needs new laws that establish a special class under the Missouri Human Rights Act.
That was the message delivered by AIM president Ray McCarty Thursday during a committee hearing on HB 1930 , sponsored by Rep. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington). The bill would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identification.
The bill also codifies the very low “contributing factor” standard for all discrimination cases. AIM endorses the “motivating factor” standard used in the federal human rights act. Although the words, “motivating factor” are used in the bill, the words describe the contributing factor standard.
“We know many of our employers have policies that protect employees against discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, and we never want employers to improperly discriminate against any employee,” said McCarty. “But having a company policy is very different than creating a new protected class in statute that will invite an entirely new line of lawsuits against employers.”
The bill received a hearing in the House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee, but the committee did not take immediate action on the bill.