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Does Missouri protect its workers from discrimination?

Missouri workers may be glad to know that yes, the state does have provisions in place to protect them from workplace discrimination.

The Missouri Human Rights Act makes it a crime to discriminate workers in any manner of employment due to a person's religion, national origin, race, color, ancestry, sex, age between 40 to 69 or disability. The act covers all aspects of employment, including:

-- Advertising of positions

-- Recruitment and training

-- Hiring and termination

-- Classification of employees, their assignments and compensation

-- Promotions, transfers, layoffs and recalls

-- Apprenticeship and training programs

-- Any fringe benefits

-- The use of company facilities

-- Rate of pay, retirement plans or disability leave

As that list is not all-inclusive, there are additional conditions and terms of employment which may be covered under the state act.

Employees is Missouri may not be retaliated against if they file complaints of discrimination. If there is a hearing or investigation regarding the complaint, they shall not be penalized for their participation or opposition of any discriminatory practices.

Another protection of which many workers remain unaware is that an employee cannot be denied any employment opportunities based on their association with or marriage to a person of a certain religion, race, national origin or who has a disability. Under Title VII of the act, discrimination is also prohibited due to one's participation in schools or places of worship that are tied to certain ethnic, racial or religious groups.

Making the decision to allege claims of discrimination should not be taken lightly. Those with concerns about any suspected on-the-job discrimination can address their concerns with Human Resources. If their concerns are not satisfactorily addressed in a timely manner, it may be a good idea to consult with a Missouri employment law attorney.

Source: Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, "Discrimination in Employment" Oct. 21, 2014

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