Summary of the Truly Agreed Version of the Bill


HB 1219 -- UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES


                 (Vetoed by the Governor)


This bill changes the laws regarding unlawful discriminatory

employment practices under the human rights laws and establishes

the Whistleblower’s Protection Act.


UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES UNDER THE HUMAN

RIGHTS LAWS


The bill:


(1) Specifies that the term "because” or "because of,” as it

relates to a decision or action, means that the protected

criterion was a motivating factor unless the decision or action

has an adverse impact on the protected criterion, in which case,

courts must rely heavily on judicial interpretation of specified

federal civil rights and employment discrimination laws;


(2) Revises the term "employer" by specifying that it is a

person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has six or

more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more weeks

in the current or preceding year and does not include an

individual employed by an employer; certain tax-exempt private

membership clubs, excluding labor organizations; or corporations

and associations owned and operated by religious or sectarian

groups;

 

(3) Specifies that any party to specified unlawful discriminatory

practice actions may demand a trial by jury;

 

(4) Specifies that an award of damages may include all future

pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental

anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other nonpecuniary losses,

and punitive damages;

 

(5) Specifies that the amount of damages awarded for each plaintiff

cannot exceed the amount of the actual back pay plus interest, other

equitable relief, court costs, reasonable attorney fees, and other

damages of up to $50,000 in the case of an employer with six to 100

employees in each of 20 or more weeks in the current or preceding

calendar year; up to $100,000 for an employer with 101 to 200

employees; up to $200,000 for an employer with 201 to 500 employees;

and up to $300,000 for an employer with more than 500 employees.

The limits must increase and decrease in the same amounts as any

corresponding limits are changed in Section 42 U.S.C. 1981a(b)(3);

 

(6) Prohibits punitive damages from being awarded against the state

or any of its political subdivisions except for claims for discriminatory housing practices authorized in Section 213.040,

RSMo; and

 

(7) Specifies that the provisions regarding damage awards do not

apply to an alleged violation of Section 213.040, unlawful housing

practices; Section 213.045, discrimination in commercial real estate

loans; or Section 213.050, discrimination in real estate sales and

rental organizations. The provisions will apply, however, to an

alleged violation of Section 213.070, other specified unlawful

discriminatory practices by an employer.

 

WHISTLEBLOWER’S PROTECTION ACT

 

The Whistleblower’s Protection Act is established, which places in

statute existing common law exceptions to the at-will employment

doctrine, making it an unlawful employment practice for an employer

to discharge or retaliate against an individual who is a protected

person. The bill:

 

(1) Specifies that the term "because" or "because of,” as it

relates to a decision or action, means the person’s status as a

protected person was a motivating factor;

 

(2) Specifies that the term “employer” means a person engaged in an

industry affecting commerce who has six or more employees for each

working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or

preceding year and must include the state or any political or civil

subdivision but does not include an individual employed by an

employer; certain tax-exempt private membership clubs, excluding

labor organizations; or corporations and associations owned and

operated by religious or sectarian groups;

 

(3) Specifies that “proper authorities” means a governmental or law

enforcement agency or an officer or the employee’s human resources

representative employed by the employer;

 

(4) Specifies that “protected person” means a person who has

reported to the proper authorities an unlawful act of the employer

or its agent or serious misconduct of the employer or its agent that

violates a clear mandate of public policy as articulated in a

constitutional provision, regulation promulgated under statute, or

rule created by a governmental entity; a person who has refused to

carry out a directive issued by the employer or its agent that if

completed would be a violation of the law; or a person who engages

in conduct otherwise protected by statute or regulation;

 

(5) Specifies that these provisions are intended to codify the

existing exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine and to limit

their future expansion by the courts. These provisions must provide

the exclusive remedy for any and all unlawful employment practices specified in the act and voids any common law causes of action to

the contrary;

 

(6) Specifies that a protected person aggrieved by a violation of

these provisions must have a private right of action for damages

which may be filed in a circuit court of competent jurisdiction.

The Missouri Human Rights Commission will not have jurisdiction to

review or adjudicate claims brought under these provisions. The

court may grant as relief, as it deems appropriate, any permanent or

temporary injunction, temporary restraining order, or other order

and may award actual and punitive damages to the plaintiff;

 

(7) Specifies that any party to an action under these provisions

may demand a trial by jury;

 

(8) Specifies that the court may award the plaintiff actual and

punitive damages. An award of damages may include all future

pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental

anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, other nonpecuniary losses, and

punitive damages. The amount of all damages awarded for each

complainant cannot exceed the amount of the actual back pay plus

interest, other equitable relief, and other damages of up to $50,000

in the case of an employer with six to 100 employees in each of 20

or more weeks in the current or preceding calendar year; up to

$100,000 for an employer with 101 to 200 employees; up to $200,000

for an employer with 201 to 500 employees; and up to $300,000 for an

employer with more than 500 employees; and

 

(9) Specifies that the damage award limits will increase or

decrease in the same amounts as any corresponding limits are changed

in Section 42 U.S.C. 1981a(b)(3).

 

Copyright © Missouri House of Representatives