The Missouri Senate is again considering a bill (SB592) which would make it more difficult for the deaf to bring employment discrimination claims under the Missouri Human Rights Act. Senator Brad Lager, a republican from District 12 in western Missouri. is sponsoring the bill. Missouri republicans have been trying to make changes like this since 2006.
Right now, an employer cannot legally fire an employee if their deafness is a “contributing” factor to the decision. This would be decided by a jury hearing all the evidence. Under the propose new law, a deaf person would instead have to prove that their deafness was a “motivating” factor of the employer. Basically, the change would make it easier for employers to claim that they fired a deaf person for other reasons. The problem is that employers rarely admit that they fired a person because of deafness. Unless a deaf person can provide evidence that their employer fired them because they were deaf, they may not have a chance to have their case decided by a jury.
There is a public hearing about this bill on 1/10/12 at 3:00 pm at the Senate Lounge in Jefferson City Capitol.
Thank you to Tom Green from Paraquad for keeping his eye on the legislative ball! Read below for more information from Tom Green about this bill and what you can do to help…
The rush of harmful legislation targeting people with disabilities’ civil rights has begun! Missouri Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment committee is set to hear public testimonies about SB592. This bill is similar to the SB188 that was vetoed by Governor Nixon last year. Your opinion about the bill is very important. Please contact the committee members and let them know what you think of SB592. Your advocacy in the opposition of the bill is important and it does count.
SB592 -Modifies the law relating to the Missouri Human Rights Act and
The public hearing is on 1/10/12 at 3:00 pm at the Senate Lounge in Jefferson City Capitol. If you need an interpreter for the hearing, please contact the Senate Administration office and request for an interpreter first thing Monday morning. They need at least 48 hours in advance to get an interpreter, but the sad thing is that this hearing was tentative until yesterday afternoon when the Senate actually referred the bill to the committee.
The rule of giving public testimony is: any individual can give testimony. You will need to fill out a Testimony form. Please do bring a typed testimony or you will need to write what you said on the testimony form. Any individual wanting to represent an organization, for example, representing MOAD, only one person can testify on behalf of MOAD.
To ensure that you are on the agenda for public testimony, please contact Senator Brad Lager (573) 751-1415, the committee chair and inform him that you want to testify, and it doesn’t hurt to let him know if you are testifying in support, in opposition or to give more information about the bill.
For update on this matter go to: http://blog.deafinc.org/2012/01/12/bill-would-limit-discrimination-lawsuits/