Originally published: May 10, 2017
The Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) is the state of Missouri’s primary anti-discrimination statute. The MHRA codifies for the state many of the federal anti-discrimination provisions found in the Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On May 8, 2017, the Missouri House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 43 (SB 43). The bill, which significantly modifies the MHRA and also codifies and limits workplace “whistleblower” liability, is now on the desk of newly-elected Governor Eric Greitens, who is expected to sign the legislation. If signed, the new law would be effective August 28, 2017. We do anticipate litigation over how this new legislation will be applied by the judiciary to pending MHRA and whistleblower litigation.
If signed, the bill would end nearly a decade of what many believe has been a judicial overreach and would put the MHRA in line with federal law and the laws of most other states. The bill would make several important changes to the MHRA (and to whistleblower law) for employers doing business in Missouri.
The Missouri legislature has been active this term in making Missouri less hostile to business, with a right-to-work law already passed and signed into law by the governor and other workplace-related legislation on his desk.