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UM System officials support discrimination bill



Leaders from the University of Missouri System, which employs almost 24,000 people, testified last week in favor of a Missouri House bill that narrows protections in the state’s workplace discrimination law.

The bill would make it impossible for employees to file discrimination lawsuits against other employees, forcing suits against employers themselves and capping damages for those who win. It would also require employees to prove that their protected status — race, religion, sex, etc. — was the driving factor behind their mistreatment rather than just a contributing factor.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kevin Austin, R-Springfield, said the bill would align Missouri with federal standards.

That alignment is the key issue for the UM System, according to system spokesman John Fougere. In a statement, Fougere made a point of touting the system’s discrimination rules for going “beyond what is required.”

No other public four-year university or community college has taken a stance on the bill, though an assistant vice chancellor and associate general counsel for Washington University did testify in favor of the bill during the public hearing this week.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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