Workplace Discrimination | St. Louis Public Radio

Workplace Discrimination

People mill about the Missouri Capitol building on Wed., May 10, 2017.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House and Senate traded a few bills Wednesday, including an amended one that would bring more specificity to a state ban on so-called "sanctuary cities." But nothing was sent to Gov. Eric Greitens all day.

Here’s a deeper look at what happened in the Capitol:

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

After nearly six hours of contentious debate Monday, the Missouri House passed a bill that makes it harder for people who are fired from a job to prove they were discriminated against.

The start of the last week of the 2017 legislative session also saw the Missouri Senate put a long-awaited prescription drug monitoring program on life support by standing its ground. 

Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

It seemed like a done deal: The Missouri House would send the governor a bill Thursday that would make it harder to prove discrimination when a person is fired. But Republican leaders called off the vote — for varying reasons.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated April 11 with accusations from Black Caucus over the bill sponsor — The Missouri General Assembly's Black Caucus is attacking a bill that makes it harder for fired workers to prove discrimination, citing a racial discrimination lawsuit that's pending against the measure's Senate sponsor.

File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate passed a bill along party lines Thursday that would make it harder for employees to prove discrimination when fired from a job.

Under Senate Bill 43, an employee has to prove "race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, or age" was the main reason for dismissal, not just a contributing factor. The measure now goes to the House.

Nimrod Chapel, the president of the Missouri Chapter for the NAACP (far right), hosted a news conference on Tuesday about workplace discrimination bills on Feb. 28, 2017. Also shown (from left to right): Michael Louis, Jeff Stack and Jeanette Mott Oxford.
Krissy Lane | St. Louis Public Radio

Two weeks after Missouri NAACP President Nimrod Chapel was silenced by a House Republican committee chairman on bills he believes are discriminatory, he stood at the Missouri Capitol to decry the “hyped-up Jim Crow” measures that are “fundamentally flawed.”

A day after after he wasn’t allowed to speak at the Feb. 13 hearing, Chapel said House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, told him the chamber was not at its best and assured Chapel he'd be given the opportunity to share his complete testimony. But no hearing has been scheduled yet.

Jessica Liss is a managing principal of Jackson Lewis, P.C. Much of her work deals with employment law.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the issues surrounding harassment in the workplace, whether it’s based on sex, religion or disability.

Joining him was Jessica Liss, J.D., a managing principal of Jackson Lewis, P.C. Liss works with employers about workplace discrimination issues.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House is considering a bill that would make it harder to prove discrimination when someone is fired from work.

Under the measure, an employee would have to prove his or her race or gender was the main factor for dismissal. That’s a shift from the current law, which says an employee only has to prove race or gender contributed to his or her dismissal.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Legislation that would redefine workplace discrimination in Missouri has been passed by the State House

House Bill 320 would require that discrimination be a motivating factor in any wrongful action taken against an employee, instead of a contributing factor as it is now.  State Representative Brandon Ellington (D, Kansas City) says Missouri’s standard for discrimination should not be lowered.

“We know the potential for discrimination, and to be able to prove that it was a motivational factor is almost impossible," Ellington said.  "Discrimination can happen to anybody in this body – it may not be racial, but it definitely could be age discrimination; it may not be age, but it could definitely be sexual discrimination.”