Higher standard for proving discrimination takes effect in Missouri

Higher standard for proving discrimination takes effect in Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Senate Bill 43, which raises the standard to prove unlawful discrimination by an employer, takes effect Monday.

One of the main changes brought by the bill is the wording of what is required for a complainant to prove discrimination. Before Monday, a complainant needed to prove that their race, gender, religion or age was a "contributing" factor in an instance of discrimination. Now, the law states those classifications must be a "motivating" factor.

Employees also must file complaints within 180 days of any instance of discrimination, and failure to do so could be used against them in court. 

There are also caps on what can be collected by complainants based on the size of the company or organization. The caps range from $50,000 for a company with 100 or fewer employees, to $500,000 for a company with 500 or more employees. 

The bill inspired the travel advisory issued by the NAACP for Missouri in early August. Nimrod Chapel, the president of the Missouri chapter of the NAACP, calls the legislation the "Jim Crow bill."

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says the bill brings the state in line with the federal standard. The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also defines unlawful discrimination as any instance where classifications such as race, gender, etc. are a "motivating" factor. 

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