Workplace discrimination victims in Missouri to face new hurdles

Missourians who are let go from their jobs for what they believe are discriminatory reasons may soon face additional hurdles, now that the governor has signed legislation that limits their options as far as legal recourse. According to St. Louis Public Radio, the controversial bills is to take effect Aug. 28, 2017, which has the leader of the Missouri NAACP encouraging those who are victims of discrimination to file suit before it does.

Currently, Missouri laws allow employees to sue for discrimination if they believe their firings were even remotely tied to their race, age or other protected characteristics. The newly signed bill, however, prevents Missourians from filing suit against individuals, leaving them with suing the company that employs them as their only option.

Opponents worry the new legislation will make it easier for employers to discriminate against their workers, because they will not have the threat of a personal lawsuit hanging over their heads. Several women’s rights groups, too, have expressed strong concerns, arguing that the new rules make it harder for older women and women of minimal means to stay employed.

Per American Progress, the new legislation dictates that, rather than having to prove that discrimination was a “contributing factor” in the decision to fire them, victims of discrimination must now prove that discrimination was the single motivation for the action. Because of this higher burden of proof, civil rights advocates fear victims will not be able to succeed in court, thus limiting their options and making it extremely difficult to hold employers accountable for discriminatory firings.  

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