Two St. Louis Regional Chamber leaders want to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit against them by an employee, citing changes to state law that took effect after they were sued.
Karen Ellis, a director of economic development at the Chamber, alleges she was denied multiple promotions based on her gender and that her superiors then worked to force her out after she raised the issue. The lawsuit against the Chamber names Joe Reagan, president and CEO, and James Alexander, senior vice president of economic development, as defendants.
Ellis’ claims of gender discrimination and retaliation fall under the Missouri Human Rights Act in her lawsuit, filed Aug. 25. But in a motion to dismiss filed Friday, Reagan and Alexander’s attorney said they aren’t liable individually under amendments to the state act that took effect Aug. 28.
Although they outrank her, Reagan and Alexander say they are not Ellis’ employers, rather her “co-employees” under the changes made to state law. The Human Rights Act amendments also removed language from state law that had included liability for “any person directly acting in the interest of an employer.”
The changes came under Senate Bill 43, which was signed by Gov. Eric Greitens on June 30.
Friday’s motion to dismiss makes little reference to whether Ellis’ claims are true or false. Ellis, who has been a Chamber employee since April 2016 and still works there, is seeking at least $75,000 in damages.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch