Protect the Missouri Human Rights Act sign now

We, the undersigned Missouri citizens and concerned individuals, respectfully ask Rep. Richard Byrd (R-Kirkwood) to withdraw House Bill 628. This bill will negatively change the Missouri Human Rights Act, Chapter 213 RSMo. This statute has been in effect for nearly 20 years and does not need to be weakened.

We further respectfully ask every Missouri legislator to vote "NO" on HB628 if it comes to a vote in either the House of Representatives or Senate.

We make these requests for the following reasons:

1) The proposed amendments to the Missouri Human Rights Act will only benefit companies and individuals who break the law and intentionally discriminate against a Missouri citizen or employee.

2) Companies and individuals that break the law and intentionally discriminate do not deserve special rights from the Missouri legislature.

3) Missouri citizens who believe their civil rights have been violated deserve to have their day in court, before a jury of their peers, in the Missouri county where the alleged discrimination happened.

4) The Missouri Human Rights Act should not be amended to let individual supervisors and managers who discriminate against their employees off the hook for their intentional conduct that is prohibited by law. This change is designed to force Missouri citizens into federal court, where civil rights plaintiffs face an uphill battle to get their day in court.

5) Federal courts present an unequal playing field that inadequately protects the civil rights of Missouri citizens.

Compared to other people who have lawsuits in federal court, those with employment discrimination cases have fewer cases settled before trial, win fewer cases, and face more appeals and reversals.

(See Kevin M. Clermont and Stewart J. Schwab, How Employment Discrimination Plaintiffs Fare in Federal Court, Cornell Law School, July 2004, (http://lsr.nellco.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=cornell/lsrp))

In fact, 44\% of discrimination cases won by workers are reversed on appeal, but only 6\% of cases won by employers are reversed.

(See Theodore Eisenberg and Stewart J. Schwab, Double Standard on Appeal: An Empirical Analysis of Employment Discrimination Cases in the U.S. Courts of Appeals,(http://www.findjustice.com/ms/pdf/double-standard.PDF)).

Consider disability cases as a particular example. In 2003, according to an American Bar Association survey, 98\% of all disability cases in the federal courts were decided against the person with a disability and in favor of the company. In eight of the thirteen federal appellate courts, 100\% of the cases were decided in favor of the company. In the federal appellate court that covers Missouri, 92\% of the disability cases in 2003 were decided in favor of the employer. The Missouri Human Rights Act should therefore not be amended to make it easier for companies to remove Missouri citizens from state court to federal court.

6) There is no insurance crisis or flood of litigation that is harming Missouri businesses. The only companies that are affected by the protections of the Missouri Human Rights Act are the few bad companies who break the law. These companies are found by a jury to have intentionally - not negligently - discriminated against their employees. Companies who break the law and intentionally discriminate do not deserve special treatment from our lawmakers.

7) For further information, please check out www.MissouriHumanRights.com.

Therefore, we ask Rep. Byrd to withdraw HB628. In addition, if HB628 or a similar bill that seeks to weaken the Missouri Human Rights Act comes up for a vote in the Missouri General Assembly, we ask every Missouri legislator to vote "No" and stand up for Missouri citizens and the protection of their civil rights.

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Hallie MooneyBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Missouri General Assembly

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