Workplace discrimination bill
4:57 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Filibuster over, Mo. Senate endorses workplace discrimination bill

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would redefine workplace discrimination, after an agreement was reached between the bill’s sponsor and a group of Democrats that had been blocking it.

The agreement took the form of an amendment to the bill, which would guarantee the right to a jury trial in any workplace discrimination case.  State Senator Brad Lager (R, Savannah), the bill’s sponsor, agreed to support the amendment.

“As the Senator from the 14th said, I think she’s identified an area here where clearly there was confusion,” Lager said just before the vote.  “I think we are moving in the right direction here.”

The agreement ended a filibuster that began last week and took up nearly 14 ½ hours of floor time Wednesday, stretching into the early morning hours today.

The jury trial amendment was sponsored by Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D, University City).  She says, though, that the bill’s definition of what constitutes workplace discrimination is still flawed.

“I believe that the standard should be contributing factor, not motivating factor,” Chappelle-Nadal said.  “When there’s a motivating factor, there’s a higher burden (of proof) on the victim.”

Chappelle-Nadal voted “no” for first-round approval and says she may decide to launch another filibuster if she feels it’s necessary.