Missouri House passes changes to discrimination suits

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri lawmakers have passed a bill that raises the standard for workplace discrimination lawsuits.

House members on Monday voted 98-30 in favor of Senate Bill 43. It would require people suing for workplace discrimination to prove that a protected class such as race, gender, age or ability was "the motivating factor" for disciplining an employee instead of just a "contributing factor."

Republican Senator and Bill Sponsor, Gary Romine, said the bill will increase businesses in Missouri.

"What we're trying to do is to make sure it is a legitimate case of discrimination and that there's valid reasons for going to court," Romine said.

The bill's backers say that it will make the state more business-friendly and discourage "frivolous lawsuits."

Opponents such as the NAACP argue that the tougher standards would roll back worker protections and make it nearly impossible to bring a successful discrimination case.

Minority House Leader, Gail McCann Beatty, said that by passing the bill Missouri would be going backwards.

"Missouri just went from having some of the strongest laws to prevent discrimination and sexual harassment, to having some of the weakest in the country," McCann Beatty said.

Romine said that after talking to Greitens he is certain that Greitens will sign the bill.

McCann Beatty and other minority house representatives are hopeful Greitens will veto the bill.