After a similar bill was vetoed last year by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a proposed bill in the Missouri Senate again seeks to introduce legislation making it more difficult for employees to sue their company on the grounds of wrongful termination.
Arguing that tighter conditions for litigation would be economically beneficial by making the state more appealing to potential business owners, under the proposed legislation, employment attorneys would need to prove that discrimination was the motivating factor behind an employee's release, rather than simply a "contributing" factor as it now stands, according to reports.
Further, even when direct evidence of wrongful termination is presented, the proposition would allow employers to justify that they would have taken such actions in any case. As reported in the Senate summary of the bill, SB592, "Where a plaintiff submits direct evidence of discrimination, the employer has the burden to provide evidence that the same employment decision would have been made regardless of the direct evidence. Where there is no direct evidence of discrimination, the plaintiff has the burden of establishing an allegation of discrimination. The employer may then produce evidence of non-discriminatory reasons for the decision."
But in defense of established employee rights, the bill has yet to come to a vote largely thanks to Senators Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Robin Wright-Jones of St. Louis and Senator Kiki Curls of Kansas City, who adamantly suggested that the proposed changes would precipitate larger scale discrimination as employees have to sift through more red tape to prove victimization.
"This bill is about trying to protect corporations," Chappelle-Nadal stated during the Senate proceedings, reports the Associated Press. "What this bill does is make everyone outside this chamber unequal."
So while those in favor of the bill claim greater employer protection will help boost the economy and draw more business to the state, opponents say they will continue to seek support for the working person's well-being and aid employment discrimination lawyers in their ability to represent those victimized in the workplace effectively.