Missouri lawmakers have proposed a new law that would drastically alter the state laws regarding workplace discrimination lawsuits. The proposed legislation will change the current state laws and critics claim it would undo years of workplace discrimination precedent.

The proposed Missouri workplace discrimination law will change a major element of these types of lawsuits. Under the proposed legislation, a plaintiff in a workplace discrimination claim will have to prove the discrimination was the motivating factor for an employer’s action. This is a change from the current legislation that requires the employee to prove the discrimination was a contributing factor to the employer’s actions.

The proposed standard will also apply to promotion denials and other wrongful discrimination actions. The proposed legislation will also affect the damages in the lawsuits. The punitive damages would be directly tied to the number of employees in the company and cites a maximum of $300,000. It is expected the new legislation will deviate from the federal standards. If it deviates from the federal standards, it will cost Missouri $1.2 million dollars in a loss of civil rights federal funding.

The Missouri Senate has passed the new workplace discrimination laws, in a 23-8 vote. The approved bill will go to review by the state’s Governor. This is not the first type of workplace discrimination legislation that has been presented to the Governor. Last year the Governor was presented with similar legislation and vetoed the bill. It has been reported the Governor will veto the current bill but has not confirmed this expected action.

Source: KMOV.com, “Missouri Senate passes workplace discrimination measure,” Wes Duplantier, Mar. 8, 2012