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Total Articles: 46

Missouri Appellate Court’s Holding That Sex Discrimination May Be Based on Sex Stereotyping Offers Some Protections for LGBT Employees

In Lampley, et al. v. Missouri Commission on Human Rights,1 the Missouri Court of Appeals held that sex stereotyping can form the basis of a sex discrimination claim when the complaining party is gay, but should not be construed as a claim for sexual orientation discrimination.2 The latter cause of action is not a cognizable claim under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). Further, a complaining party’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to the claim of discrimination based upon sex stereotyping.

Missouri Right to Work Law Suspended, Likely Headed for Popular Vote

A new Missouri "right to work" law has been blocked from taking effect, following a last-ditch petition effort in opposition to the measure. The law banning mandatory union fees would have taken effect August 28.

Unions Fight Back Against Missouri Right-to-Work Law

On February 6, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed Senate Bill 19, making Missouri our nation’s 28th right-to-work state. Senate Bill 19, codified as Section 290.590 of the Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMo), was scheduled to take effect on August 28, 2017. The unions, fearing significant revenue losses, mounted petition drives to reverse the actions of the legislature and governor. On Friday, August 18, 2017, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office reported that the unions filed one type of petition: a referendum intended to submit approval of the statute to the voters in November 2018. Meanwhile, attempts to also submit state constitutional amendments to the voters, by initiative petition, appear to remain ongoing.

"A Little Bad Grammar Will Not Annul" – Missouri Unions Move Ahead with Referendum Petition to Revoke Right-to-Work

Missouri was set to become a right-to-work state on August 28, 2017. However, unions have continued efforts to prevent the implementation of Senate Bill 19 (“SB 19”), Missouri’s right-to-work bill. Article III, Section 52 of the Missouri Constitution allows the public to petition for a referendum to put key issues before Missouri voters on the November 2018 ballot. The president of the Missouri AFL-CIO intends to use a referendum petition to halt SB 19.

Missouri Law Prohibits Costly Public Project Labor Agreements

On May 30, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed legislation generally barring public entities from requiring job-specific union contracts called “project labor agreements” on public construction projects.

Missouri Overrides St. Louis Minimum Wage Hike, Bucking Trend

Effective August 28, Missouri will override the $10 St. Louis minimum wage and lower it back to $7.70, consistent with the state's minimum figure. The state-mandated decrease in the St. Louis minimum wage is especially noteworthy at a time when a number of cities and states just increased their own minimum wages on July 1. The preemption bill bans Missouri cities or counties from establishing a minimum wage rate that exceeds the state's minimum wage.

Big Changes in Missouri: A New and Improved Missouri Human Rights Act Becomes Law

On June 30, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed into law Senate Bill 43, which corrects the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) by bringing it into closer alignment with federal and other states' anti-discrimination statutes.

Missouri Levels The Playing Field For Defending Baseless Discrimination Lawsuits

Good news for Missouri employers: the days of our state arguably being considered the most dangerous place in America for baseless discrimination lawsuits are about to end. Governor Eric Greitens late last week signed legislation that, effective August 28, 2017, amends the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) and mostly aligns Missouri with federal antidiscrimination law and the laws of most other states. The result will be a level playing field for all parties to a discrimination claim. Employees still will be protected against employment discrimination, and employers will be better able to defend baseless lawsuits.

City of St. Louis Employers May Roll Back Their Minimum Wage to $7.70, Effective August 28, 2017

On Friday, June 30, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens announced that he would take no action with respect to HB 1194, which had been passed by the Missouri General Assembly and delivered to him in May.

Missouri Governor Greitens Signs Bill Amending MHRA, Bringing State Law More Into Line With Federal Law

On June 30, 2017, Governor Grietens signed a bill which makes sweeping reforms to the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA). The 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. The new law takes effect on August 28, 2017.

Missouri Legislature Passes State Minimum Wage Bill

In the waning hours of Missouri’s 2017 legislative session, the Missouri General Assembly passed HB 1194, which prohibits Missouri cities from establishing minimum wage rates higher than the state’s minimum wage—which is currently $7.70 per hour. The new law also “preempts and nullifies” any local laws currently in effect—voiding St. Louis’s minimum wage ordinance that took effect just last week. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Greitens, who is expected to sign it into law.

A Last-Second Win for Missouri Employers

With the 2017 legislative session winding down, the Missouri legislature pulled out a big win for employers with several significant changes to the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law and the Missouri Human Rights Act.

Missouri Legislature Passes Sweeping Reforms to Employment Discrimination Law

The Missouri legislature has passed a bill that makes sweeping amendments to the Missouri Human Rights Act, including adopting the “motivating factor” standard for employment discrimination claims and excluding individuals from liability, among other things.

One Step Remains in Correcting the Missouri Human Rights Act

On May 9,2017, the Missouri Legislature passed a significant amendment to the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), which would bring the Act into closer alignment with federal and other states' anti-discrimination statutes. All that remains is for Governor Eric Greitens to sign the bill into law.

The Missouri Human Rights Act—The Playing Field Has Been Leveled

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.

St. Louis’s Minimum Wage Increase to Take Effect in the Coming Days

On April 25, 2017, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued its mandate in Cooperative Home Care, Inc. v. City of St. Louis (No. SC95401), paving the way for St. Louis City’s minimum wage ordinance to take effect, which will increase the minimum wage covered employers must pay covered employees from $7.70 to $10.00 per hour. As we detailed in our previous article, the court overturned a 2015 injunction that had enjoined St. Louis’s minimum wage ordinance, but the court’s mandate was delayed by a motion for rehearing filed on March 15, 2017.

Missouri Becomes 28th State to Pass a Right-to Work Law

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed legislation into law on February 6, 2017, making Missouri the 28th right-to-work state. The law prohibits employers from requiring employees to join a labor organization and from requiring employees to pay labor organization dues.

Missouri Becomes 28th 'Right to Work' State

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has signed a bill making Missouri the 28th "right to work" state. The law takes effect on August 28, 2017.

Missouri Enacts Right to Work Law

Governor Eric Greitens campaigned on promises to sign “right-to-work” law if given the opportunity and the Missouri House of Representatives gave him that opportunity by passing Senate Bill 19 (SB 19) after hours of floor debates on February 2, 2017. Governor Greitens signed SB 19 on February 6, 2017, and the new law becomes effective on August 28, 2017.

Missouri is Now a Right-to-Work State

On February 6, 2017, Missouri became the 28th state to enact a right-to-work law. The bill, passed by the Show Me State’s Republican-controlled state legislature, was signed into law by newly-elected Governor Eric Greitens. A similar measure was vetoed by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon last year.

Missouri Joins Ranks Of Right-To-Work States

Earlier today, Governor Eric Greitens signed a bill into law that will lead Missouri to join the ranks of states that are governed by “right-to-work” laws. When the law goes into effect on August 28, 2017, employees in unionized workplaces will be allowed to opt out of joining a union or paying union dues if they so choose. Employers in the state should familiarize themselves with this significant new development, as it could soon have an impact on your workplace.

Missouri Becomes 28th Right-to-Work State

On February 6, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed Senate Bill 19, making Missouri our nation’s 28th right-to-work state. In the last five years, five other states have passed right to work legislation (Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Kentucky). As per Article III, Secs. 20(a) and 29 of the Missouri Constitution, Missouri’s right to work statute will become on effective August 28, 2017.

Federal Court in Missouri Holds At-Will Employment Is Not Consideration for Noncompete

The end of the year is an opportune time for employers to make sure their noncompete and arbitration agreements are still valid. A recent Missouri federal court decision underscores how difficult it can be to enforce those agreements against at-will employees in Missouri. Durrell v. Tech Electronics, Inc., No. 4:16-cv-1367-cdp (November 15, 2016).

Federal District Court In Missouri Raises Doubts Concerning Whether At-Will Employment Is Consideration For A Non-Compete Agreement

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, in Durrell v. Tech Electronics, Inc., 4:16-CV-01367 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 15, 2016), held that an at-will employee’s non-compete agreement may not be enforceable where the only form of consideration is the employee’s at-will employment status since an at-will employment relationship cannot constitute consideration.

Missouri Appeals Court Addresses Third Party Harassment Claim Against Parent Company

A Missouri appeals court has declined to find a parent company liable for the acts of its subsidiary under the state civil rights law. In Diaz v. AutoZoners, LLC, a case alleging third-party sexual harassment (i.e., an employee alleged being harassed by two customers), the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District reversed a jury verdict and judgments against the parent company.

Parent Company not ‘Employer’ under Missouri Law, Court Rules, Reverses $1.5 Million Award

An employer’s parent corporation that did not “directly act[] in the interest” of the employer was not a covered employer under the Missouri Human Rights Act liable for harassment and retaliation, a Missouri Court of Appeals has ruled. Diaz v. AutoZoners, LLC, d/b/a AutoZone, et al., No. WD77861 (Mo. Ct. App. Nov. 10, 2015). The Court applied a modified “economic realities” test and reversed the jury verdict and judgment of $1,500,000 in punitive damages against the parent corporation.

Trial Court’s Dismissal of Sexual-Orientation Discrimination Claim Was Proper Says Divided Missouri Court of Appeals

In Pittman v. Cook Paper Recycling Corp., WD 77973 (Mo. App. W.D. Oct. 27, 2015) a divided panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District affirmed the dismissal of an employee’s claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA). The majority opinion held Missouri law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, the court left open the possibility that future claims may be brought by plaintiffs who specifically allege discrimination based on gender stereotyping. Relying on recent interpretations of federal law by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the dissent opined that Missouri law does prohibit sexual orientation discrimination because the MHRA makes it unlawful to discriminate based on “sex.”

Share Trial Court’s Dismissal of Sexual-Orientation Discrimination Claim Was Proper Says Divided Missouri Court of Appeals

In Pittman v. Cook Paper Recycling Corp., WD 77973 (Mo. App. W.D. Oct. 27, 2015) a divided panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District affirmed the dismissal of an employee’s claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA). The majority opinion held Missouri law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, the court left open the possibility that future claims may be brought by plaintiffs who specifically allege discrimination based on gender stereotyping. Relying on recent interpretations of federal law by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the dissent opined that Missouri law does prohibit sexual orientation discrimination because the MHRA makes it unlawful to discriminate based on “sex.”

City of St. Louis Raises Minimum Wage, Imposes Notice Requirement

Effective October 15, 2015, the minimum wage for employees working in St. Louis will increase to $8.25 per hour from the state minimum of $7.65 per hour pursuant to St. Louis City Ordinance 70078, which was passed on August 28, 2015.

Everything You Need to Know About St. Louis’s Minimum Wage Law

On August 28, 2015, the city of St. Louis passed a law to raise its minimum wage. The minimum wage increase will start at $8.25 per hour and will increase to $11.00 per hour by 2018. Beginning on January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase annually on January 1 of each year on a percentage basis to reflect the rate of inflation.

Missouri Appellate Court Enforces Delegation Clause, Holds Arbitrator Has Authority to Decide Whether Claims Are Arbitrable

This year, Missouri courts have issued several decisions interpreting arbitration agreements between employers and employees. While some of these agreements have been enforced, others have been struck down. The Missouri Court of Appeals invalidated two employment arbitration agreements in January and July, allowing both employees to pursue their discrimination claims in court. But, in the interim, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld an arbitration agreement, compelling an employee to arbitrate his age discrimination lawsuit.

Missouri School Boards, Cities, and Counties: Consider Enacting Ordinance Providing for Secret Ballot Union Elections for Certain Employees

Article I, Section 29 of the Missouri Constitution gives employees “the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.” For most public sector employees, Chapter 105 of the Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMo) includes a procedure by which employees may select—or reject—union representation in a secret ballot election supervised by Missouri’s State Board of Mediation. Chapter 105 includes an exception from these rights to a State Board of Mediation secret ballot election for police, deputy sheriffs, highway patrolmen, members of the Missouri National Guard, and teachers.

Another One Bites The Dust: Missouri Court Refuses to Enforce Arbitration Agreement Due to Unilateral and Retroactive Modification Clause

Arbitration agreements have been a roller coaster for Missouri employers. Recently, in State ex rel. Hewitt v. Kerr, the Missouri Supreme Court enforced such an agreement, sending an employee’s discrimination lawsuit to arbitration. But overall, courts in Missouri have restricted the enforceability of arbitration agreements entered into between employees and employers. This month, the Missouri Court of Appeals continued that trend in Bowers v. Asbury St. Louis Lex, LLC, No. ED102229 (July 7, 2015). In Bowers, the court analyzed an arbitration agreement, which included a clause that purportedly allowed the employer to modify the agreement unilaterally and retroactively.

Missouri Courts Scrutinize Employment Arbitration Agreements

Two recent Missouri Supreme Court decisions demonstrate Missouri courts will carefully scrutinize employment arbitration agreements in determining their validity. The Missouri Supreme Court in Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc., et al.1 invalidated an employment arbitration agreement that was agreed to by the parties at the time the employee was given a promotion and raise. The court held that continued employment for an at-will employee and mutual promises to arbitrate where the employer had the ability to modify the terms of the arbitration agreement did not constitute valid consideration to support the agreement. In State ex rel Hewitt v. The Honorable Kristine Kerr,2 the Missouri Supreme Court upheld an arbitration agreement, but held the arbitrator section provision unconscionable.

Missouri Supreme Court "Calls an Audible," Upholds Arbitration Agreement

In recent years, Missouri courts have seemed reluctant to enforce arbitration agreements entered into between employers and employees. But in a recent decision, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed that trend and compelled arbitration of an employee’s age-discrimination claim. The court’s opinion offers some important guidance for employers that want to prepare enforceable arbitration agreements in Missouri. State ex rel. Hewitt v. Kerr, No. SC93846 (April 28, 2015).

New Year’s Resolution for Missouri Employers: Arbitration Agreements In Light of Jimenez v. Cintas Corporation

Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? The Missouri Court of Appeals rang in 2015 by refusing to enforce an arbitration agreement between an employer and an employee. The decision continues the robust trend in Missouri of restricting the enforceability of arbitration clauses. If your company has an arbitration agreement with employees in Missouri, then there is one worthwhile resolution to put on your list this year: Verify whether that agreement is still enforceable under Missouri law.

And the Ban Keeps Growing

No one is surprised to hear another city passed a Ban the Box ordinance. On December 1, 2014, Missouri’s city of Columbia’s joined the movement. We have previously written about several Ban the Box laws that have been approved, including laws in Illinois and New Jersey. Ban the Box is an effort to limit employer inquiries about criminal history during the hiring process.

City of Columbia Is First in Missouri to Approve "Ban the Box" Legislation

In keeping with the “ban the box” legislative trend, the Columbia City Council unanimously passed a “ban the box” ordinance on December 1, 2014. The ordinance, which went into effect immediately, prohibits public and private employers operating in the City of Columbia from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history in any way prior to making a conditional offer of employment. The ordinance also prohibits employers from performing their own research, such as online research, etc., regarding an applicant’s criminal history prior to that advanced stage.

Is Your Arbitration Agreement Still Enforceable in Missouri After Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc.?

This summer, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a decision that will affect arbitration agreements relied on by employers across the state. The decision—one of many in a recent trend of Missouri cases restricting the enforceability of arbitration clauses—serves as a cautious reminder for employers to continue asking a critical question: We entered into an arbitration agreement with our employees, but would a Missouri court enforce it?

Missouri Supreme Court Lowers Employees’ Burden of Proof in Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Claims

The Missouri Supreme Court expanded rights for injured workers on April 15, 2014, by virtue of its ruling in Templemire v. W&M Welding, Inc., No. SC 93132. Under the court’s new standard, a discharged employee alleging retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim need only prove that the claim was a contributing factor, rather than the exclusive reason, for the discharge.

New Missouri Supreme Court Decision Addresses Untimely Claims

On August 27, 2013, the Missouri Supreme Court issued its decision in Farrow v. St. Francis Medical Center (No. SC 92793), which fundamentally alters the manner in which employers must address untimely claims under the Missouri Human Rights Act.

Missouri Supreme Throws a Couple of Curve Balls and Tags Employers in Wrongful Discharge Cases.

The Missouri Supreme Court recently issued rulings on three cases relating to the public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine. These three cases directly impact wrongful discharge cases against employers in Missouri. The three main issues these cases discussed are: (1) the proper causation standard to apply in wrongful discharge cases; (2) whether contractual employees may pursue wrongful discharge claims; and (3) what can constitute a basis for a “public policy.”.

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Eighth Circuit Rejects Workers' Disparate Impact Claim; Inadequate Background Checks Could Result in Jury Trials; Supervisors Can Be Held Liable Under the MHRA; I’ve Got A Question . . .

Do Missouri and Kansas Employees Have the Right to Vote During Work Hours?

With elections around the corner, Ogletree Deakins Shareholder Jill Morris reminds companies that “election season is always a good time to revisit company policies about voting rights and to make sure your company’s human resources personnel are familiar with employees’ right to vote.”

Missouri Enacts Tough New Immigration Law, Targets Employers.

Missouri Governor Matt Blunt has signed into law H.R. 1549, a stringent new bill targeting illegal immigration. As of January 1, 2009, employers of unauthorized workers will face potential loss of state contracts and/or tax breaks, suspension or even revocation of their right to do business in the state, and possibly a civil trial in Missouri state court.

New Missouri Law Requires Select Employers to Use E-Verify.

Yesterday, Governor Matt Blunt signed legislation (HB 1549) aimed at curbing illegal immigration in Missouri. Under the new law, employers that knowingly hire or continue to employ unauthorized aliens to perform work in Missouri could face civil liability in state courts and lose their business licenses. (Note: This provision of the new law goes into effect on January 1, 2009). Although this conduct has long been prohibited under federal law, the new state law will allow investigation and enforcement by the Missouri Attorney General and the filing of a civil lawsuit in Missouri state court. The law also requires the following entities to participate in a federal work authorization program (currently known as “E-Verify”).
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