In his 2014 State of the State address, Missouri Democratic Governor Jay Nixon announced his plans to expand protection against employment discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation. Missouri law already prohibits workplace discrimination based on disability, race, religion, sex, color, ancestry and national origin.
Getting the measure by the Republican majority in the state legislature is dubious. Already the governor is being criticized by some Republicans for supporting this addition to the policies already in place in lieu of his spearheading other policy initiatives. However, Representative Anne Zerr of St. Charles expressed her support of the governor’s intentions.
Nixon predictably has the support of the Missouri Democratic lawmakers, as a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation already passed the Senate chamber on its last legislative session of 2013. The Republican-controlled House elected not to vote on the matter.
Discrimination in the workplace affects the morale and productivity of employees. Employers or co-workers who engage in behaviors that create a hostile environment for employees should be held accountable. Workers have the right to perform their duties in an atmosphere that is free of harassment.
If you find yourself in a hostile work situation where you experience discrimination, you should make every effort to document the specifics of each incident. If possible, detail the discriminatory behavior in memos and e-mails so you have a reliable record. If your company has a human resources department, make them aware of the situation. If the behavior continues, worsens or you are retaliated against in any way for bringing the situation to light, you may need to retain an attorney who is familiar with Missouri laws that prevent such discrimination. He or she can then advise you how best to proceed.
Source: kmbz.com, “Nixon calls for protections for gay workers” No author given, Jan. 22, 2014