When someone is fired in Missouri or elsewhere around the country, his or her first reaction may be to sue the former employer. But there are many instances when a firing is not illegal and would not warrant a wrongful termination lawsuit. In fact, recent actions in the Missouri Senate could make it even more difficult to prove discrimination in wrongful termination cases.

The Senate approved legislation that would require workers to prove that bias was a motivating factor in their termination as opposed to a contributing factor, as the law currently states. Proponents wanted the bill to require that workers provide proof that their termination was based solely on a protected status. The issue was debated hotly and a compromise was reached. 

The bill had also contained a provision that would prevent state employees from receiving punitive damages in harassment or discrimination lawsuits. This provision was removed from the bill. However, there are still limits for punitive damages in the bill, based on the number of employees in a company. The bill is expected to go the Missouri House after it receives approval from the Senate. But there is still a strong effort to avoid the passage of any bill that makes it easier to discriminate against employees.

While every firing is not a wrongful termination, it is important to employees to understand their rights under the law. When someone is fired from a job, it would be beneficial to contact an attorney familiar with employment law for assistance. An experienced lawyer can help a former employee determine if a basis exists for a wrongful termination lawsuit and work toward a successful outcome on behalf of the client.

Source: kansascity.com, “Employment discrimination bill clears major hurdle in Missouri Senate”, Jason Hancock, March 1, 2017