Legislator shows concern for MO bill that would require fired employees to prove discrimination

Posted at 5:07 PM, Apr 24, 2017

If passed, a Missouri bill would require fired workers to prove discrimination was the main reason for termination. One state representative says it poses a conflict of interest. 

Representative Richard Brown calls Senate Bill 43 an attempt to gut the Human Rights Act of Missouri.

Mo. Rep. Richard Brown vocally opposes Senate Bill 43.

The bill has cleared the senate and is on its way to Brown and the Missouri House for debate. 

If passed, it would require fired workers to prove discrimination was the main reason for termination. 

The current standard requires them to only prove it be a contributing factor. 

Brown opposes this bill for two reasons. 

He says it rolls back the progress of civil rights and says there’s a huge conflict of interest .

“Currently we have a sitting senator who is the sponsor of this bill," he said. "There are 34 senators in the senate.  Thirty-three are not currently being sued under this bill, one is.”

Senator Gary Romine is the bill’s sponsor.

Sen. Gary Romine is the sponsor of Senate Bill 43 and facing accusations of conflicts of interest regarding the bill. 

His business “Show-Me Rent to Own” is being sued by a former employee who says he was the subject of racial slurs by store management. 

The lawsuit also alleges the store contained a map with a predominantly black neighborhood circled, and the words “Do Not Rent To.”

Supporters say the bill aims to bring Missouri in line with federal standards for discrimination laws. 

A 41 Action News investigation in February uncovered Missouri requires a lower burden of proof for plaintiffs of discrimination cases than most states.  And it’s cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

Previous story: Employment discrimination suits are costing Missouri metro schools big money

Brown calls that a small price to pay to uphold justice and civil rights. 

“If a lawmaker was charged with, let’s say a DWI, and then brought a bill to the legislature to lessen the penalties for DWI, that’s the same thing as this bill.  It’s a horrible bill.  It needs to be stopped.  It shouldn’t even be brought to the floor for a vote.”